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Toward a Politics of the (Im)Possible

Toward a Politics of the (Im)Possible: The Body in Third World Feminisms

Anirban Das
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: Anthem Press
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    Toward a Politics of the (Im)Possible
    Book Description:

    This book presents a philosophical discussion on the issues of the body and knowledge from a feminist perspective.

    eISBN: 978-1-84331-342-7
    Subjects: Sociology
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS (pp. ix-xii)
  4. INTRODUCTION (pp. xiii-xxii)

    Any form of Knowing has to negotiate the unanticipatable. By definition, the act of knowing has to know what is already not available to knowledge. To make known what already is known does not involve the process of knowing; it is the act of repeating the already-known.

    There are two basic ways to approach the unanticipatable. One is to make it derivable from what is already-known. The other is to respect the fact that it is underivable from thepresent. As we will see later, these two ways may not be mutually exclusive.

    To derive the unknown from the existing...

  5. Chapter 1 BODY, POWER AND IDEOLOGY (pp. 1-36)

    There is no obvious connection between the body as a category and the categories of power and ideology. The obscurity of this connection is the symptom of a not so hidden assumption regarding the ‘body’. A belief – that the body is only a concrete, immediate presence in three dimensional space – prevents the understanding of the links between the body and the ostensibly abstract notions of power and ideology. This book does not rest content with the knowledge that power and ideology are as palpably concrete as any other formation. Nor does it constrain itself to the insight (acquired...


    So far we have been tracing – with a focus on the body of the subject – the dynamics of power and ideology as a set of intertwining processes. We looked at how ideology and power cannot work, cannot present themselves tobe, in the absence of the bodily matrix of subjectivity. An ethics of responsibility corresponds to the very beings of the ghostly body and the subject, we observed. This ethics has to question the ideology of immediacy that is commonsensically ascribed to the body. In this chapter I move on to deal with the processes that produce the...


    An awareness of the inevitable metaphoricity of the corporeal does not refute the fact that the body, although constituted by language, is constitutedasthe body. As metaphor, it is no less ‘real’ than ‘reality’. For, in this theoretical frame, the real and the metaphor constitute each other and every ‘real’ or ‘metaphorical’ being has its own specificity. The blurring of the real/metaphor binary does not lead, of itself, to a blurring of the specificity of all concept-metaphors. On the contrary, the understanding of the generality of the beings may lead on to a better perception of the particulars. In...

  8. Chapter 4 THINKING THE BODY: BEYOND THE TOPOS OF MAN (pp. 105-132)

    The body is not one. This is a commonplace in the postmodern parlance. But how is the body renderedmany? If the body of the individual is the unit of this multiplicity, that is, if bodies are many by virtue of the multiplicity of individuals whohavebodies, at least two problems arise. The first, the logical problem, is that of defining the features of this universal category named thebody– by what logical step does one mark and name a generality,the body, out of the particular individual bodies. The second problem arises out of the historicity of...


    A common allure and risk of academic writing is to treat theoretical arguments as transparent and belonging to obvious ‘positions’ marked by a certain proper name (Foucault, Derrida, Marx) or a denotative common noun (structuralism, phenomenology, hermeneutics). It is as if one need not engage with the specific dynamics of the proposition, once the ‘lineage’ is properly established for all to gloss readily over.¹ Of course, the elementary trainings of writing continue to deal with this as a simple problem, as something s/he has to bear with if one wants to enunciate anything clearly and without ambiguity, a small trick...

  10. In Conclusion: TOWARD A POLITICS OF THE (IM)POSSIBLE (pp. 163-172)

    Start with the ultimate question in politics.

    May one (can one?) question the question itself ? Question the primacy of this one question that circumscribes – limits, defines, paradoxicallydeifies– theory? Puts theory to the ultimate test of effectivity. Can one seriously contest the wordisbetween the query ‘what’ and the phrase ‘to be done’, question the surety in the be-ing of the act? As Simon Critchley (1999a, 2) reminds us, “… the copula in predicative propositions – S is P – is one of the principal targets of deconstruction”.

    But remember, questioning does not mean a forgetting,...

  11. NOTES (pp. 173-186)
  12. BIBLIOGRAPHY (pp. 187-206)
  13. INDEX (pp. 207-210)