Surviving, Forever Foreign

William Robert

in Trials

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9780823231652
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823237203 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

Surviving, Forever Foreign

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Antigone is a foreigner, even at home. She is from the start, in Jacques Derrida's words, “the system's vomit”, finding no place in nature or culture since she occupies the space between them of the incest prohibition, which she transgresses. As a woman, she remains a sexual outsider, barred from the exclusively male polis, though she violates this proscription and, as a result, is entombed alive, so that her tomb (oikēsis) becomes her home (oikos). However, her displacement from and foreignness to her oikos are more radical. Antigone is, before her burial, already foreign to her familial oikos despite her devotion to its members, its gods, its duties, its demands. In performing her responsibilities of filial piety, she exceeds the familial domain insofar as, according to Derrida, “with the brother/sister relation the family is exceeded by itself”. In and through her love, kinship consumes itself.

Keywords: Antigone; Jacques Derrida; nature; culture; tomb; home; foreign; kinship; incest

Chapter.  7363 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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