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Book cover of A Politics of Impossible Difference: The Later Work of Luce Irigaray

A Politics of Impossible Difference: The Later Work of Luce Irigaray

by Penelope Deutscher

Publisher: Cornell University Press
Pages: 256
ISBN: 9780801487972

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Overview of A Politics of Impossible Difference: The Later Work of Luce Irigaray

The influential philosopher and theorist Luce Irigaray has been faulted for giving more importance to sexual difference than to race and multiculturalism. Penelope Deutscher's eagerly awaited book, the first to focus on the scholar's controversial later works, addresses this charge. Through a learned critique of these lesser-known writings, the book examines Irigaray's claim that the politics of feminism and multiculturalism are intrinsically linked. The volume also serves as a clear and comprehensive introduction to her entire corpus.In her recent works, Irigaray promotes sexual difference as the philosophical basis for legal, political, and linguistic reform. Deutscher explores this approach and in particular Irigaray's view that the very notion of difference is culturally "impossible." Taking this concept of impossibility into consideration, Deutscher evaluates Irigaray's contributions to contemporary debates about the politics of identity, recognition, diversity, and multiculturalism. In a balanced discussion, she considers the philosopher's work from the perspective of fellow critics including Michéle Le Doeuff, Drucilla Cornell, Jacques Derrida, Judith Butler, and Charles Taylor.

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From the Publisher

"Deutscher's book is a thorough and comprehensive study of Irigaray's works, one which is unique in its theoretical groundings with respect to many debates (post-colonial, feminist, linguistic, philosophical). Readers will find analyses of both Irigaray's well-known and lesser-known writings, while being safely accompanied through the "arbitrary leap of faith" (101) which must be made in order to access Irigaray's texts."-Miriam Wallraven, "Gender Debatllefeld" Vol. 5 2003

"Deutscher. . . . can initiate serious readers to the feminist philosophy of Irigaray, and refresh the knowledge of committed feminists. A Politics of Impossible Difference could form the basis for a course on feminist theory."-Laurence M. Porter, Michigan State University, French Review 77.4

"In A Politics of Impossible Difference, Penelope Deutscher achieves what English-speaking readers of Luce Irigaray have long needed: a generous, careful, and rigorous reading of the later works of Irigaray. What Deutscher praises most in Irigaray's readings of the philosophers is also what is best about her own reading of Irigaray: impeccable attention to ambiguity and inconsistency, to the polyvocal possibilities of a philosophical text. . . . Deutscher's book is nevertheless a very good introduction to Irigaray's thought more generally, particularly for those interested in making sense of Irigaray from a poststructuralist perspective."-Bonnie Mann, University of Oregon

"In A Politics of Impossible Difference Penelope Deutscher shows how Luce Irigaray's work engages with issues of public policy and legal and institutional reform. This is the book on Irigaray that everyone has been waiting for."-Dorothea Olkowski, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

"Penelope Deutscher looks at Irigaray in the wider intellectual context of other figures who have been significant for feminist theory. Deutscher has an excellent philosophical understanding of Irigaray. A Politics of Impossible Difference is invaluable."-Margaret Whitford, Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London

"In Penelope Deutscher's hands Irigaray's theory of sexual difference becomes more useful for a critical theory of politics and policy than it has ever been. This is a wonderfully clear, coherent and original book."-Iris Young, Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago

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