Politics of Relation, Politics of Love
Today, the world seems rancorously preoccupied with identity to the exclusion of all else: nationalist and isolationist discourses abound based on identitarian claims to certain values, ways of life, and geographies. On the other hand, liberal and cosmopolitan discourses oppose the rise of nationalism but also focus on identity. Against this political backdrop, I argue, Luce Irigaray’s latest volume To Be Born provides us with the groundwork for a vital new alternative to identity politics. In this text, Irigaray traces the ways that desire and sexuate belonging are currently subsumed to Western metaphysical discourses that, I suggest, contribute to our current obsession with identity. Crucially, she also outlines the possibility of another path: a re-birth in and of desire that could return us to the source of our human becoming, but one that is only possible in living relation to the other who is different from us. In this way, Irigaray provides an ontological and ethical framework to radically shift our focus away from all issues of identity to the paradigm of relation, which gives birth to a transmutation of desire that can become love.
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