Abstract Commodity Form and Bare Life

Ewa Płonowska Ziarek

in Feminist Aesthetics and the Politics of Modernism

Published by Columbia University Press

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780231161497
Published online November 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780231530903 | DOI:
Abstract Commodity Form and Bare Life

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This chapter provides a feminist diagnosis of form and political violence by juxtaposing the commodification of female bodies with the biopolitics of race and gender. It also compares the operations of form in two seemingly different domains—in civil society (the relations of production and exchange) and in the state (in particular, sovereign violence determining inclusion and exclusion from the political). What this confrontation of biopolitics with commodified sexed and racialized bodies shows is the mutual implication of political violence and the abstraction of social forms, in particular, the commodity form and that of citizenship. The diverse material effects of such violence is examined further in Agamben's bare life and the hunger striking suffragettes; in Orlando Patterson's notion of social death and Hortense Spillers's hieroglyphics of black flesh; in Irigaray's commodified bodies and Adorno's membra disjecta; and in the destroyed bodies of the potential black female writers in Larsen's novels.

Keywords: political violence; female bodies; biopolitics; commodification; destroyed bodies; citizenship

Chapter.  12104 words. 

Subjects: Feminist Philosophy

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