The Indeterminable Gender

Janus Head 13 (1):17-34 (2013)
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Abstract

What kind of ethics can we consider in the framework of feminist phenomenology that takes poststructuralist feminism into account? This seems to be a difficult task for at least two reasons. First, it is not yet clear what ethics in poststructuralist feminism is. Second, phenomenology and poststructuralism are still regarded as opposites. As a phenomenologist with strong affinities to poststructuralism, I want to take on this challenge. In this paper, I will argue that phenomenology and poststructuralism share the idea of the “indeterminable.” If this idea is applied to the topic of gender, we can speak of an “indeterminable gender.” Moreover, phenomenology and poststructuralism support an ethical attitude toward genders inasmuch as they both avoid making problematic determinations. My goal is to explore what the so-called “indeterminable gender” is and to illuminate the ethical implications of this concept.

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