Continental Philosophy Review

, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 465–479 | Cite as

On negativity in Revolution in Poetic Language

  • Sina KramerEmail author


Kristeva’s Revolution in Poetic Language offers a challenge to theories of the subject in psychoanalysis, linguistic theory, and in philosophy. Central to that challenge is Kristeva’s conception of negativity. In this article, I trace the development of the concept of negativity in Revolution in Poetic Language from its root in Hegel, to rejection, which Kristeva develops out of Freud. Both are crucial to the development of the material dialectic between the semiotic and the symbolic that makes up Kristeva’s subject-in-process/on trial. I argue that a clearer understanding of Kristeva’s conception of negativity helps us to better appreciate the force of Kristeva’s challenge, both philosophically and politically. Finally I argue that Kristevan negativity also helps us to clarify the relation between the delimited space of politics and its conditions, laying the groundwork for constitutive exclusion as political critique and opening a space for the possibility of political re-constitutions.


Kristeva Freud Hegel Negativity Constitutive exclusion 



Many thanks to Chris Buck, Tina Chanter, Andrew Dilts, Jana MacAuliffe, Heather Rakes, and an anonymous reviewer for Continental Philosophy Review for their invaluable advice in the development of this piece.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Loyola Marymount UniversityLos AngelesUSA

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