Philosophy in the Contemporary World

Volume 11, Issue 1, Summer 2004

Feminist Apporoaches to the Body

Pia C. Kontos
Pages 87-93

Local Biology
Reclaiming Body Matter

The biological body has remained peripheral to much feminist theory which is the consequence of a legitimate critique of biological determinism. However, rejecting the biological body altogether runs the risk of treating the body as a sociopolitical effect. It is my argument that corporeal reality can be theorized without lapsing into the totalizing perspectives of essentialism or relativism. To do so I propose drawing upon Judith Butler’s analysis of the productive effect of power relations that materialize the body’s sex, and Margaret Lock’s notion of local biology which introduces the notion that biological matter has dynamism of its own that is not reducible to discourse/power. Bringing together these two perspectives on the body holds the prospect of capturing the complex interrelationship between biology, culture, social structure, and power.

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