Leaky bodies and boundaries : feminism, deconstruction and bioethics
Shildrick, Margrit (1994) Leaky bodies and boundaries : feminism, deconstruction and bioethics. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.
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Official URL: http://webcat.warwick.ac.uk/record=b1416759~S1
This thesis draws on poststructuralism/postmodernism to present a feminist investigation into the human
body, its modes of (self)identification, and its insertion into systems of bioethics. I argue that, contrary to
conventional paradigms, the boundaries not only of the subject, but of the body too, cannot be secured. In
exploring and contesting the closure and disembodiment of the ethical subject, I propose instead an
incalculable, but nonetheless fully embodied, diversity of provisional subject positions. My aim is to valorise
women and situate them within a reconceived ethics which takes account of the embodied feminine.
My project entails an analysis and deconstruction of the binaries of those dominant strands of
postEnlightenment thought that shape epistemology, ontology, and ethics, which in turn set the parameters
of modern bioethics. More importantly, it goes on to reclaim a radical sexual difference beyond the binary,
in which the female is no longer the other of the male. My enquiry, then, is strongly influenced by the
discursive approach offered by both Foucault and Derrida in differential ways, but I counter their
indifference to feminist concerns by qualifying their insights in the light of strategies developed by Irigaray
and Spivak, among others.
The main method of investigation has been through library research of primary and secondary sources in
mainstream and feminist philosophy, and in bioethics. In addition, archival work in both textual and
iconographic collections was carried out at the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine.
The contribution made by this thesis is to go beyond modernist feminisms - which would simply revise and
add women into existing paradigms - to radically displace and overflow the mechanisms by which women are
devalued. And in developing a postmodern critique around some issues in bioethics, I have suggested a new
ethics of the body which precedes the operation of moral codes.
|Item Type:||Thesis or Dissertation (PhD)|
|Subjects:||B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Human body -- Philosophy, Bioethics, Feminist theory|
|Official Date:||September 1994|
|Institution:||University of Warwick|
|Theses Department:||Centre for the Study of Women and Gender|
|Supervisor(s)/Advisor:||Battersby, Christine, 1946- ; Graham, Hilary|
|Extent:||v, 195 leaves|
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