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Title: Nonnormative ethics : the dynamic of trans formation
Author: Van Der Drift, Mijke Anne
ISNI:       0000 0004 7427 5066
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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In this thesis I propose to address trans as nonnormative ethical formation. In the current definition (Stryker, 2008) trans is defined as a movement outside of constraints that encapsulate normative genders. Preciado (2012) argues that trans involves the constitution of a soma-political project, beyond identity. As opposed to theories that describe identity formation as aspirational, the thesis extends Aristotle’s arguments for ethical formation in terms of interactive engagement within environments through an agents’ dunamis – the powers of its Soul (Lee 1992). The limits of the Aristotelian model will be overcome by use of Anzaldúa (1987) and Lugones (2003). The navigation away from imposed normative environments through agential action will be shown to lead to nonnormative logos: a formational logic shaping perception, action, and practical reflection culminating in practical truth. This reading enables centering somatechnical processes (Sullivan 2009) as generative of forms of life. Wittgenstein suggests that agential logic informs forms of life, shaping validity of both principles and decisions. I use this insight to claim that the polis is ordered by a single logic that informs norms. I propose nonnormative ethics to encompass agents with differing logos. Reading eudaimonia as the demon standing behind the agent, I will suggest that nonnormative ethics takes place outside of the polis on the ‘demonic grounds’ (McKittrick 2015, Wynter 1990). Nonnormative ethical connections are multilogical and are bridged by collective codes. I will draw from Glissant (2002) to make a case for acknowledging agential opacity away from a pathologising claim to interiority. I will argue for nonantagonistic playfulness and loss (Lugones, 2003) as keys to the emergence of nonnormative codes enabling shared forms of life. I propose that the distinction with the codes of the polis is the willingness to share loss, instead of exploitation. The thesis makes the case that bodily change is central to changing one’s understanding of, and relation to one’s surroundings. Furthermore, I argue such change is a collective process, and that emerging epistemologies are connected to contextual ethics.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral