From Lack to Fluidity: Luce Irigaray, La Mystérique

in Sensible Ecstasy

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2002 | ISBN: 9780226349510
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226349466 | DOI:
From Lack to Fluidity: Luce Irigaray, La Mystérique

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This chapter demonstrates how Luce Irigaray takes up and crucially recasts Lacan's understanding of the relationship between femininity, mysticism, and the body, finding in the Christian mystical tradition precisely what Lacan believes is impossible, an imaginary, and hence a possible symbolic, grounded in the form of the female body. Irigaray also challenges the value of this conception of the imaginary, as it is grounded in an understanding of woman as “not all,” as lacking, wounded, or lacerated. Lacan's embrace of lack and his reading of “woman” as emblematic of the human condition is itself dependent on the normativity of the phallus. As Christian mysticism is dependent on a similar conception of lack, Irigaray subjects it to the same critique she levels at psychoanalysis.

Keywords: Luce Irigaray; femininity; mysticism; Christian mystical tradition; woman; psychoanalysis

Chapter.  10168 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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