Feminism and the spaces of transformation
Feminist political theory draws on particular spatial imaginations in elaborating a politics of transformation. This paper establishes this in relation to two familiar accounts of feminist transformation – those of Judith Butler and Luce Irigaray. Respectively I read their work as suggesting that transformation of gender relations takes the form of ubiquitous revolution, taking place everywhere, or a distant dream of an (im)possible future – elsewhere. The paper then turns to discuss the work of Julia Kristeva, often dismissed as not feminist and conservative. I read her work politically, within the frame of feminist theory. She offers a different, heterogeneous account of transformation, as both possible in the present and also limited by the existence and need for social and symbolic orders. In exploring the heterogeneous spatial imagination of her work, the paper suggests that the spatialities of abjection are diverse and productive. Abjection is not simply about devising territories and borders. Moreover, dominant spatialities cannot be described as simply masculine. Finally, drawing links with Lefebvre’s account of representational spaces, I argue that Kristeva’s work can be extended to inform our understanding of how spaces themselves can be transformed.
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