Baudrillard's Challenge; A Feminist Reading by Victoria Grace

By Victoria Grace

This arguable booklet is the 1st systematic feminist interpreting of the paintings of Jean Baudrillard, some of the most pivotal figures in modern cultural conception, and is vital examining for college kids of feminist conception, sociology and cultural theory.  Drawing at the complete diversity of Baudrillard's writings the writer engages in a debate with: * the paintings of Luce Irigaray, Judith Butler and Rosi Braidotti on identification, strength and wish* the feminist challenge with 'difference' as an emancipatory build* writings on transgenderism and the functionality of gender* feminist matters concerning the objectification of girls. via this serious engagement Grace finds many of the barriers of a few modern feminist theorising round gender and id, patriarchy and gear, and in so doing bargains a fashion ahead for modern feminist idea.

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In Symbolic Exchange and Death, Baudrillard writes of the symbolic as an act, a social relation: The symbolic is neither a concept, an agency, a category, nor a ‘structure’, but an act of exchange and a social relation which puts an end to the real, which resolves the real, and, at the same time, puts an end to the opposition between the real and the imaginary. (SE&D: 133) This quotation contains some of the central elements of Baudrillard’s critique of the order of identity; elements that I want to approach from a number of different angles through the course of this chapter, developing specifically a critique of modern and postmodern western configurations of gender and/ or sexual difference, in Baudrillard’s terms.

Thus sexual difference is no longer (predominantly) structured and articulated in accordance with a logic of equivalence whereby that which is on the wrong side of the bar – the feminine – is barred from occupying the place of identity. Rather, the signs of sex are exchanged in a veritable promiscuity of positivity where nothing is lost, where all signs are phallic, where all signifiers can claim their identities (in all their differences); the bar does not bar the (sign) feminine, but bars the symbolic.

Why are ‘women’ positioned as ‘objects’ of exchange and thus obviously ‘men’ as the ‘subjects’ who activate the exchange? These are crucial questions, but in connection with the current discussion, I do not think it is useful to try to address them in anthropological (feminist, political) terms. The question of gender and the symbolic will be the focus of a number of discussions in this book, especially in Chapter 5, where I will return to this question of the symbolic exchange of ‘women’ and engage with the feminist work of Gayle Rubin.

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