Subjectivity Without Subjects

From Abject Fathers to Desiring Mothers

By (author) Kelly Oliver

Publication date:

03 December 1998

Length of book:

224 pages


Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

ISBN-13: 9780847692521

In Subjectivity Without Subjects, well-known philosopher and feminist theorist, Kelly Oliver looks at aspects of popular culture, film, science and law to examine contemporary notions of paternity and maternity.

Oliver studies the roles of paternal responsibility, virility and race in such events as the Million Man March and the growth of the Promise Keeper's movement and suggests alternative ways to conceive of self-other relations and the subjective identity at stake in them. In addition she offers a detailed analysis of particular works by such well-known film-makers as Polanski, Bergman and Varda in developing a theory of identity that opens the subject to otherness or difference.
Subjectivity without Subjects takes on the much-needed project of theorizing identity and subjectivity as loving openness to difference. Oliver argues that theories of witnessing can overcome the limitations of a Hegelian notion of recognition by acknowledging when recognition is impossible. Her account of a subject as an open system provides a response to contemporary debates about responsibility and agency that avoids the trap of conceiving subjects as either completely active or passive. Oliver's reading of such events as the Million Man March and various films provide practical applications of the theoretical points she makes, rendering this book wonderfully accessible to the student and layperson as well as refreshingly concrete.