Tales of Recognition: A Kristevan Rewriting of Hegel

Dissertation, Duquesne University (2001)

Georganna Ulary
Marist College
Julia Kristeva claims that the most difficult problem facing us today is the "rehabilitation of the political," by which she means rethinking the basis of democratic politics. I take this claim as my point of departure for assessing Kristeva's contribution to the field of contemporary philosophical-politics. Insofar as Kristeva claims that it is possible to read between the lines in Hegel to find a statement of truth about the process of subjectivity, I maintain that it is possible to read between the lines in Kristeva's rewriting of Hegel to find a statement of truth not only about the "subject-in-process," but also about the body-politic-in-process. Kristeva's description of subjectivity and politics proceeds from her radical rewriting of Hegel's process of recognition. As such, to fully understand and appreciate both her theory of subjectivity and her vision of politics, one must first carefully analyze her Hegelianism. Her contribution to the effort of rehabilitation must be viewed against the background of her radical rewriting of Hegel which ultimately culminates in a politics of identification : that is, she develops a politics modeled on the process of identification at work in the development of subjects. I show how, in her re-crafted version of Hegelian recognition, the recognition of other subjects is premised upon recognizing the "other-within." Moreover, I argue that this reformulation gives birth to what Kristeva calls a "paradoxical community," a community or body-politic en proces which mirrors the subject-in-process
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