, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 113-131

Love discourses, sexed discourses: Luce Irigaray's Être deux

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Abstract

Luce Irigaray's Être deux (1997) synthesises her linguistic research with an interpretation of Sartre, Merleau-Ponty and Lévinas. The linguistic research focuses on consistency both of an individual subject's discourse, and of the overall research findings (rather than the presence of inconsistency in those findings) to reinforce Irigaray's argument that there is a relationship between sexual difference and sexed language use. Previously in her work, Irigaray's philosophical and linguistic research were held more distinct. Être deux speculates on the extent to which a discursive analysis of the texts of Merleau-Ponty, Sartre and Lévinas might support the concept of a masculine relationship to language. While it is certainly the case that some degree of what Irigaray deems masculinity can be located in their texts, this analysis occurs through an unnecessary de-emphasis of the discursive complexity of these texts, a complexity Irigaray has been at pains to demonstrate in the methodological orientation of her earlier work on the history of philosophy.