“The Lost Foundation”: Kristeva's Semiotic Chora and Its Ambiguous Legacy

Hypatia 20 (1):78-98 (2005)
Abstract
The aim of this essay is to reclaim Kristeva's concept of the semiotic chora by reinscribing it as an intervention in the context of two important postmodern debates. The first debate relates to the philosophical problem of "the beginning before the Beginning." The second concerns the necessity and possibility of mediation between incommensurable entities: the "demonic" and the social, desire and the Law, material production and representation. I contend: (1) that the introduction of the chora in RPL is part of Kristeva's effort to restore the legacy of a materialist economy of the beginning, as this is glimpsed in Plato's Timaeus from which Kristeva borrows her controversial term; and (2) that the chora constitutes an attempt on Kristeva's part to explore a third space of ambiguous relationality in the context of which our transcendence to the "demonic" lies less "beyond us" than "in-between."
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