Coming Together: The Six Modes of Irigarayan Eros

Hypatia 26 (3):478-496 (2011)
Luce Irigaray's provocative vision of eros is often expressed in what Elizabeth Grosz calls “rambling and apparently disconnected” language, and nowhere in Irigaray's texts is it presented as a coherent account. With the goal of elaborating the significance of Irigaray's vision, I here set out to construct such an account. After first defining the Irigarayan erotic encounter as a paradoxical conjunction of “separation and alliance,” I then aim to show that its structure may be productively interpreted in terms of six co-present modes: (i) wonder, the affective mode; (ii) touch, the sensuous mode; (iii) transgression, the subjective mode; (iv) fluidity, the elemental mode; (v) future, the temporal mode; and (vi) threeness, the numerical mode. From this interpretation, I argue, there emerges a new understanding of the immense power of Irigarayan eros as a “sexual or carnal ethics” and as a constitutive force not only for embodied subjectivity and intersubjectivity but also for sexual difference itself
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DOI 10.1111/j.1527-2001.2011.01190.x
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Emmanuel Levinas (1979). Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority. Distribution for the U.S. And Canada, Kluwer Boston.

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