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Summary

Following the works of Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Simone de Beauvoir, to name a few of the major figures in this tradition, phenomenology operates on both the ontological and epistemological level to insist that all contact with the world occurs through a layer of living experience.  Phenomenology attends to both what is being observed, the givenness of what is being observed, and the intentions of the one doing the observing while conditioned as being-in-the-world.  In other words, phenomenology commences with the belief that initial contact with the world is not already clearly distinguishable as subjective or objective.  Refusing the constraints of reducing the world to either that which exists out there or to the projections of the inner self, phenomenology understands the lived world as an open-ended framework with meaning complexes.  Because of the open-ended nature of experience and of meaning, knowledge is always unfinished and incomplete.

As the study of the phenomenal constraints of living in the world, feminist phenomenology holds the position that being-in-the-world is not an abstract condition--without sex or gender.  At the most obvious level, this leads to a focus on gendered embodiment and its impact on subjectivity.  From these beginnings, feminist phenomenology clarifies how sex and gender impacts one’s experiences and understandings of the world, broadening to explore the social political consequences.

Key works

Alcoff, Linda Martin (2000). “Merleau-Ponty and Feminist Theory on Experience.”. Chiasm, Merleau-Ponty's Notion of Flesh, Fred Evans Leonard Lawlor (ed.), (New York:  SUNY Press.

Bartky, Sandra Lee (1990).  Femininity and Domination: Studies in the Phenomenology of Oppression (New York:  Routledge).

Butler, Judith (1989). Butler,  “Sexual Ideology and Phenomenological Description:  A Feminist Critique of Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception,” The Thinking Muse: Feminism and Modern French Philosophy., eds. Jeffner Allen&Iris Marion Young (eds.). (Bloomington:  Indiana University Press).

Weiss, Gail (1999). Body Images:  embodiment as intercorporeality (New York:  Routledge).

Young, Iris Marion (2005).  On Female Body Experience: "Throwing Like a Girl" and Other Essays. (New York:  Oxford University Press). 

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  1. added 2020-03-21
    Reproducing Refugees: Photographìa of a Crisis.Anna Carastathis & Myrto Tsilimpounidi - 2020 - London, UK: Rowman and Littlefield International.
    Since 2015, the ‘refugee crisis’ is possibly the most photographed humanitarian crisis in history. Photographs taken, for instance, in Lesvos, Greece, and Bodrum, Turkey, were instrumental in generating waves of public support for, and populist opposition to “welcoming refugees” in Europe. But photographs do not circulate in a vacuum; this book explores the visual economy of the ‘refugee crisis,’ showing how the reproduction of images is structured by, and secures hierarchies of gender, sexuality, and ‘race,’ essential to the functioning of (...)
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  2. added 2020-03-21
    Feminism and the Political Economy of Representation : Intersectionality, Invisibility and Embodiment.Anna Carastathis - 2009 - Dissertation,
    It has become commonplace within feminist theory to claim that women’s lives are constructed by multiple, intersecting systems of oppression. In this thesis, I challenge the consensus that oppression is aptly captured by the theoretical model of “intersectionality.” While intersectionality originates in Black feminist thought as a purposive intervention into US antidiscrimination law, it has been detached from that context and harnessed to different representational aims. For instance, it is often asserted that intersectionality enables a representational politics that overcomes legacies (...)
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  3. added 2020-02-22
    Agency, Environmental Scaffolding, and the Development of Eating Disorders - Commentary on Rodemeyer.Joel Krueger & Lucy Osler - forthcoming - In Time and Body: Phenomenological and Psychopathological Approaches.
  4. added 2020-02-12
    Feminist Interpretations of Soren Kierkegaard.Christine Battersby - 1999 - Hypatia 14 (3):172-176.
  5. added 2020-01-16
    Embodiment and Oppression: Reflections on Haslanger.Erin Beeghly - forthcoming - Australasian Philosophical Review.
    In On Female Body Experience, Iris Marion Young argues that a central aim of feminist and queer theory is social criticism. The task is to understand oppression and how it functions. Know thy enemy, so as to better resist. Much of Sally Haslanger’s work fits Young’s description of feminist and queer theory, and her newest article, “Cognition as a Social Skill,” is no exception. In it, Haslanger theorizes mechanisms of social oppression. My aim in this essay is to specify what (...)
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  6. added 2019-11-05
    The Defence of Belief in Consent: Guidelines and Jury Instructions for Application of Criminal Code Section 265(4).Lucinda Vandervort - 2005 - Criminal Law Quarterly 50 (4):441-452.
    The availability of the defence of belief in consent under section 265(4) is a question of law, subject to review on appeal. The statutory provision is based on the common law rule that applies to all defences. Consideration of the defence when it is unavailable in law and failure to consider it when it is available are both incorrect. A judge is most likely to avoid error when ruling on availability of the defence if the ruling: (1) is grounded on (...)
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  7. added 2019-08-17
    Mestiza Consciousness.Elena Ruíz - 2019 - In Gail Weiss, Ann V. Murphy & Gayle Salamon (eds.), Fifty Concepts for a Critical Phenomenology. Northwestern University Press.
  8. added 2019-06-07
    Feminist Interpretations of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Dorothea Olkowski and Gail Weiss. [REVIEW]Nancy J. Holland - 2009 - Dialogue 48 (1):209-211.
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  9. added 2019-06-06
    Asymmetrical Genders: Phenomenological Reflections on Sexual Difference.Silvia Stoller & Camilla R. Nielsen - 2005 - Hypatia 20 (2):7-26.
    One of the most fundamental premises of feminist philosophy is the assumption of an invidious asymmetry between the genders that has to be overcome. Parallel to this negative account of asymmetry we also find a positive account, developed in particular within the context of so-called feminist philosophies of difference. I explore both notions of gender asymmetry. The goal is a clarification of the notion of asymmetry as it can presently be found in feminist philosophy. Drawing upon phenomenology as well as (...)
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  10. added 2019-06-06
    Simone de Beauvoir. Philosophy, and Feminism. [REVIEW]Carolle Gagnon - 2003 - Dialogue 42 (1):168-171.
    Dès l’abord, le livre de Nancy Bauer intitulé Simone de Beauvoir. Philosophy, and Feminism nous apparaît différent de ce qui a été publié récemment sur cette auteure peu discutée en philosophie. Nous avons essentiellement affaire à une discussion des problèmes centraux de la philosophie de Beauvoir. Cependant, ce livre partage avec les ouvrages de Margaret A. Simons, Beauvoir and the Second Sex: Feminism, Race, and the Origins of Existentialism, Debra B. Bergoffen, The Philosophy of Simone de Beauvoir: Gendered Phenomenologies, Erotic (...)
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  11. added 2019-06-06
    Engendering Questions: Developing Feminist Ethics with Levinas.Deidre Butler - 2000 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 7 (1):13-19.
    Levinas’s often reflexive internalization of female stereotypes, as well as his reification of particularly patriarchal tendencies within the biblical and rabbinic tradition in his dialogue with Jewish law and thought. are only two of the many problems feminists, and particularly Jewish feminists, must address as they engage his ethics. Despite these difficulties. Levinas’s compelling description of the radical obligation to the Other invites feminists to enter into dialogue with his thought. This article explores the possibilities of developing and enhancing feminist (...)
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  12. added 2019-06-06
    Sense and Subjectivity: A Study of Wittgenstein and Merleau-Ponty. [REVIEW]Gail Weiss - 1993 - International Studies in Philosophy 25 (3):112-113.
  13. added 2019-06-05
    Ferguson, Ann , and Nagel, Mechthild . Dancing with Iris: The Philosophy of Iris Marion Young . New York: Oxford University Press, 2009 . Pp. 268. $99.00 (Cloth); $24.95 (Paper). [REVIEW]Elizabeth V. Spelman - 2010 - Ethics 120 (3):596-600.
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  14. added 2019-06-05
    Review: Janina Bauman, Beyond These Walls: Escaping the Warsaw Ghetto — A Young Girl's Story. [REVIEW]Sian Supski - 2008 - Thesis Eleven 93 (1):130-133.
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  15. added 2019-06-05
    Book ReviewsIris Marion Young,. On Female Body Experience: “Throwing Like a Girl” and Other Essays.New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. Pp. 177. $65.00 ; $19.95. [REVIEW]Sonia Kruks - 2006 - Ethics 117 (1):164-168.
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  16. added 2019-05-30
    Living Experiments: Beauvoir, Freedom, and Science.Anna Mudde - 2015 - PhaenEx 10:57-75.
    In this paper, I argue for reading Simone de Beauvoir’s call, in The Ethics of Ambiguity, to assume our ambiguity as a call to live experimentally. This paper has three mutually reliant strands of analysis: first, I draw attention to and catalogue some instances of Beauvoir’s use of scientific example; second, I derive, from a close and intertwined reading of those examples, implications about ambiguous subjectivity; in order to, third, suggest that those implications lead to the idea that the demand (...)
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  17. added 2019-05-30
    Thoughtful Theory and the Possibility of Reflexive Subjectivity.Anna Mudde - 2010 - Dissertation, York University
    In this dissertation, I develop a post-reflexive philosophical account of self-knowing subjectivity. I argue that ambiguity, not clarity, is the hallmark of intersubjective being and knowing, and that ambiguous being is particularly evident precisely where subjectivity occupies a central place: in theory. To illustrate this claim, I turn to the ubiquitous and indispensable technology of the glassy mirror, a material object and discursive trope which I use to enliven the Beauvoirean concept of situation: a lived ambiguity of being both subject (...)
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  18. added 2019-05-29
    Comments on Johanna Oksala’s Feminist Experiences. [REVIEW]Andreea Aldea - 2019 - Continental Philosophy Review 52 (1):125-134.
  19. added 2019-05-08
    Nature Trouble: Ancient Physis and Queer Performativity.Emanuela Bianchi - 2019 - In Emanuela Bianchi, Sara Brill & Brooke Holmes (eds.), Antiquities Beyond Humanism. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 211-238.
  20. added 2019-01-15
    Ambiguity, Absurdity, And Reversibility: Lndetenninacy In De Beauvoir, Camus, And Merleau-Ponty.Gail Weiss - 1993 - Bulletin de la Société Américaine de Philosophie de Langue Française 5 (1):71-83.
  21. added 2018-11-18
    SPEP Co-Director's Address: Hesitation as Philosophical Method—Travel Bans, Colonial Durations, and the Affective Weight of the Past.Alia Al-Saji - 2018 - Journal of Speculative Philosophy 32 (3):331-359.
    It is, without a doubt, a difficult task to address at once the state of philosophy as embodied by the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy and the place of one’s own thought within it. This is the task that a co-director’s address tries to fill. Whether with a critical reexamination of the phenomenological mode of seeing distinctive of SPEP, of philosophical progress, or of the place of transcontinental philosophy, prior co-directors found ways to subtly chart the windings and turns (...)
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  22. added 2018-11-04
    Linguistic Alterity and the Multiplicitous Self: Critical Phenomenologies in Latina Feminist Thought.Elena Flores Ruíz - 2016 - Hypatia 31 (2):421-436.
    Latina feminists like Gloria Anzaldúa and Mariana Ortega have developed anti-essentialist accounts of selfhood that are responsive to the problem of alterity and hermeneutic alienation experienced by multiplicitous subjects, understood as those who must navigate between multiple cultural norms and often conflicting interpretive traditions. These accounts can be fortified by examining the sense of inarticulacy that arises from having to name conditions of existence undergirded by social and historical contradictions and ambiguities—especially under the experiential stress of gendered social violence, cultural (...)
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  23. added 2018-08-21
    Implied Consent and Sexual Assault: Intimate Relationships, Autonomy, and Voice by Michael Plaxton. [REVIEW]Lucinda Vandervort - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 28:697-702.
    This is a review and critical commentary on Michael Plaxton's 2015 book, Implied Consent and Sexual Assault, in which he proposes that the legal definition of sexual consent be amended to permit sexual partners to define the terms and conditions of sexual consent in accordance with private "normative commitments" between themselves. The proposed "reform" is intended to permit an individual to agree to be a party to sexual activity that would otherwise constitute sexual assault under Canadian law. For reasons explained (...)
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  24. added 2018-07-14
    The Social Constitution of the Body: Bodily Alienation and Bodily Integrity.Leboeuf Celine - 2016 - Dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
    My thesis offers an account of the phenomenon of bodily alienation. Bodily alienation marks the failure to realize oneself in one’s bodily activities. I argue that realizing oneself in one’s bodily activities requires the pursuit of bodily activities for their own sake—not for the appearance they produce, and the ability to deal skillfully with one’s environment. I characterize bodily alienation by examining three cases concerning gender and race: the tendency, inflected by gender norms, to identify with certain fetishized body parts (...)
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  25. added 2018-06-21
    Merleau-Ponty, World-Creating Blindness, and the Phenomenology of Non-Normate Bodies.Joel Michael Reynolds - 2017 - Chiasmi International: Trilingual Studies Concerning Merleau-Ponty's Thought 19:419-434.
    An increasing number of scholars at the intersection of feminist philosophy and critical disability studies have turned to Merleau-Ponty to develop phenomenologies of disability or of what, following Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, I call "non-normate" embodiment. These studies buck the historical trend of philosophers employing disability as an example of deficiency or harm, a mere litmus test for normative theories, or an umbrella term for aphenotypical bodily variation. While a Merleau-Pontian-inspired phenomenology is a promising starting point for thinking about embodied experiences of (...)
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  26. added 2018-06-13
    Gender and the Senses of Agency.Nick Brancazio - 2018 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences (2).
    This paper details the ways that gender structures our senses of agency on an enactive framework. While it is common to discuss how gender influences higher, narrative levels of cognition, as with the formulation of goals and in considerations about our identities, it is less clear how gender structures our more immediate, embodied processes, such as the minimal sense of agency. While enactivists often acknowledge that gender and other aspects of our socio-cultural situatedness shape our cognitive processes, there is little (...)
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  27. added 2018-05-30
    The Order of Life: How Phenomenologies of Pregnancy Revise and Reject Theories of the Subject.Talia Welsh - 2013 - In Sarah LaChance Adams & Caroline R. Lundquist (eds.), Coming to Life: Philosophies of Pregnancy, Childbirth and Mothering. New York: Fordham University Press. pp. 283-299.
    This chapter discusses how phenomenologies of pregnancy challenge traditional philosophical accounts of a subject that is seen as autonomous, rational, genderless, unified, and independent from other subjects. Pregnancy defies simple incorporation into such universal accounts since the pregnant woman and her unborn child are incapable of being subsumed into traditional theories of the subject. Phenomenological descriptions of the experience of pregnancy lead one to question if philosophy needs to reject the subject altogether as central, or rather to revise traditional descriptions (...)
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  28. added 2018-05-30
    Unfit Women: Freedom and Constraint in the Pursuit of Health.Talia Welsh - 2013 - Janus Head: Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature, Continental Philosophy, Phenomenological Psychology, and the Arts 4 (13):58-77.
    Feminist phenomenology has contributed significantly to understanding the negative impact of the objectification of women’s bodies. The celebration of thin bodies as beautiful and the demonization of fat bodies as unattractive is a common component of that discussion. However, when one turns toward the correlation of fat and poor health, a feminist phenomenological approach is less obvious. In this paper, previous phenomenological work on the objectification of women is paralleled to the contemporary encouragement to discipline one’s body in order to (...)
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  29. added 2018-02-17
    The (In) Visible Body: Feminism, Phenomenology, and the Case of Cosmetic Surgery.Luna Dolezal - 2010 - Hypatia 25 (2):357-375.
    This paper will examine the experience of and drive for bodily invisibility in women through the theoretical approaches of phenomenology and social constructionism. An examination of the social disruptions of bodily invisibility and the compulsive avoidance of such instances, particularly with respect to the fastidious maintenance of body comportment and appearance within the narrow parameters afforded by social norms, will lead to an exploration of the conflation of biomedicine with the beauty industry.
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  30. added 2018-02-17
    Book Review: Elizabeth Fallaize.Simone de Beauvoir: A Critical Reader. London and New York: Routledge, 1998. [REVIEW]Kristana Arp - 1999 - Hypatia 14 (4):186-191.
  31. added 2018-02-17
    Book Review: Margaret A. Simons. Feminist Interpretations of Simone de Beauvoir. University Park, Pa: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1995. [REVIEW]Nancy Bauer - 1996 - Hypatia 11 (3):161-164.
  32. added 2017-09-13
    Two Women in Flight in Beauvoir’s Fiction.Larry Alan Busk - 2017 - Southwest Philosophy Review 33 (1):105-114.
    This paper analyzes two forms of “flight from freedom” embodied by characters in Beauvoir’s fiction, connecting these portrayals to the situation of women as described in The Second Sex as well as the discussion of social freedom in The Ethics of Ambiguity. The characters under consideration are Monique from the story “The Woman Destroyed” and Françoise from the novel She Came to Stay, who represent flight from freedom in related but distinct ways. My claim is that considering these two characters (...)
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  33. added 2017-02-09
    Iris Marion Young, 1949-2006.Patchen Markell - 2007 - Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 80 (5):184 - 185.
  34. added 2017-02-09
    Iris Marion Young (1949-2006).William E. Scheuerman - 2006 - Political Theory 34 (6):687 - 689.
  35. added 2017-01-29
    The Girl's Encyclopæia.Amy B. Barnard - 1909
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  36. added 2017-01-29
    A Girl's Outlook.Mary Bramston - 1903
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  37. added 2017-01-28
    Throwing the Book at Them.Thomas Mates - 2006 - Free Inquiry 26:39-41.
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  38. added 2017-01-28
    Throwing Like a Girl and Other Essays in Feminist Philosophy and Social Theory.Iris Marion Young - 1990
  39. added 2017-01-27
    Girl Ascending.Melissa Ann Pinney - 2011 - Center for American Places.
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  40. added 2017-01-27
    Intersecting Voices: Dilemmas of Gender, Political Philosophy, and Policy. By Iris Marion Young.M. Papastephanou - 2000 - The European Legacy 5 (2):318-318.
  41. added 2017-01-27
    Iris Marion M. Young. Intersecting Voices: Dilemmas of Gender, Political Philosophy and Policy.S. Mendus - 1998 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 15 (3):303-304.
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  42. added 2017-01-27
    Throwing Granny Away.H. L. Nelson - 1991 - Hastings Center Report 21 (1):3-3.
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  43. added 2017-01-26
    Young Girl in Family Portrait.Cynthia Hogue - 1999 - Feminist Studies 25 (2):397.
  44. added 2017-01-26
    Jeffner Allen and Iris Marion Young, Eds., Thinking the Muse: Feminism and Modern French Philosophy Reviewed By.Tina Chanter - 1991 - Philosophy in Review 11 (2):79-80.
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  45. added 2017-01-24
    Throwing Like a Girl and Other Essays in Feminist Philosophy and Social Theory. By Iris Marion Young. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990. [REVIEW]Kelly Oliver - 1991 - Hypatia 6 (3):218-221.
  46. added 2017-01-23
    Iris Marion Young and “Intersecting Voices”.Fred Evans - 2008 - Philosophy Today 52 (Supplement):10-18.
  47. added 2017-01-22
    Review of Ann Ferguson, Mechthild Nagel (Eds.), Dancing with Iris: The Philosophy of Iris Marion Young[REVIEW]Falguni A. Sheth - 2010 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2010 (9).
  48. added 2017-01-19
    An Interview with Iris Marion Young.Mitja Sardoˇ & Michael F. Shaughnessy - 2001 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 33 (1):95–101.
  49. added 2017-01-17
    The American Girl: Playing with the Wrong Dollie?Victoria Davion - 2016 - Metaphilosophy 47 (4-5):571-584.
    This essay explores the American Girl Just Like You doll through a variety of feminist lenses. It was inspired by my experiences chaperoning my friend Grace to the American Girl Store in New York City, and returning to the store to shop for my own doll. I returned to the store because I was not sure why I was so extremely disturbed by this doll. The doll is not emaciated, not overtly sexy, and marketed along with outfits that supposedly send (...)
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  50. added 2017-01-17
    Dancing with Iris: The Philosophy of Iris Marion Young.Ann Ferguson & Mechtild Nagel (eds.) - 2009 - Oup Usa.
    Dancing with Iris engages with Iris Marion Young's prolific writings in political theory and in phenomenology. Contributors discuss her work from a variety of disciplines, including philosophy, political science, human rights law, cultural geography and dance studies.
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1 — 50 / 203