Law and Critique

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 51–74 | Cite as

Speculating on the Exclusion of the Feminine

  • Helen Baker


This article investigates Frenchfeminist philosopher, Luce Irigaray, with aview to discussing how a critique ofocularcentrism is a focus in articulating herproject of sexual difference. It will discusshow an ocularcentric tradition intersects withissues of sexual difference and language, andhow these together enact relations of powerthat erase the feminine from view. Irigaray'stextual strategies are explored as possessingthe potential to engender a new femininesubjectivity. This article is divided into foursections. In the first section, the privilegingof the visual in western philosophical thoughtis discussed, with particular reference tolanguage. In the following section, Irigaray'sintellectual project will be introduced, payingparticular attention to her use of language andthe role of vision. In the light of thesediscussions, Irigaray's re-reading of Plato'smyth of the cavern will then be subjected toclose examination and critique, to demonstratehow an ocularcentric tradition operates indiscourse. Finally the article will conclude bysuggesting an analysis of Irigaray's work interms of how language, vision, light, sexualdifference operate as relations of power isessential in the creation of a new femininesubjectivity.

discourse Foucault Irigaray language myth of the cavern Plato power sexual difference vision 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Law International 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helen Baker
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Law, and Institute for Women's StudiesUniversity of LancasterLancasterUK

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