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Luce Irigaray (1930–)

Luce Irigaray was born in Belgium where she initially studied before moving to Paris in the early 1960s to study for a doctorate in psychology and psychopathology. Between 1962 and 1964, she returned to Brussels to work at the Fondation Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique. Shortly after her return to Paris she became a researcher with the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, now with linguistics as her main focus. A participant in Lacan’s seminars throughout the 1960s, she obtained her doctorate in linguistics in 1968. From 1970-1974 she taught in the Department of Psychoanalysis at the recently established University of Vincennes and was also a member of the École Freudienne de Paris. The publication in 1974 of her second doctoral thesis, this time in psychoanalysis, Speculum of the Other Woman, resulted in her dismissal from Vincennes and a break with Lacan. Her next book, This Sex Which is Not One contained a pointed critique of Lacan, ‘Cosi Fan Tutti’, and her 1977 paper ‘Misère de la psychanalyse’ [‘The Poverty of Psychoanalysis’] developed the critique further still. In the 1980s and 90s, Irigaray held a number of teaching posts, including Professor of Philosophy at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam and Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Liverpool in 2005-7.

Along with Julia Kristeva and Hélène Cixous, Irigaray is widely recognized for her singular contribution to feminism, which was and remains grounded in an innovative and often controversial engagement with Lacanian psychoanalysis and Derridean deconstruction. Her contribution to the Cahiers develops some of Jacques-Alain Miller and Jean-Claude Milner’s theses concerning a logic of the signifier, while also laying the groundwork for her later emphasis on specular identification and the phenomenon of sexual difference. The article was reproduced in her volume Parler n’est jamais neutre (1985), which collected most of her writings on science and many of her critiques of the Lacanian enterprise. This book was translated into English in 2002.

In the Cahiers pour l’Analyse

Luce Irigaray, ‘Communications linguistique et spéculaire (Modèles génétiques et modèles pathologiques)’, CpA 3.3 [HTML] [PDF] [PDF]

Select bibliography

  • Speculum d’autre femme. Paris: Minuit, 1974. Speculum of the Other Woman, trans. Gillian C. Gill. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985.
  • Ce sexe qui n’est pas un. Paris: Minuit, 1977. This Sex Which is Not One, trans. Catherine Porter and C. Burke. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985.
  • Éthique de la différence sexuelle. Paris: Minuit, 1984. An Ethics of Sexual Difference, trans. C. Burke and C. Gill. London: Athlone, 1993.
  • Parler n’est jamais neutre. Paris: Minuit, 1985. To Speak is Never Neutral, trans. G. Schwab. London: Continuum, 2002.
  • Je, tu, nous: Pour une culture de la différence. Paris: Grasset, 1990. Je, Tu, Nous: Toward a Culture of Difference, trans. Alison Martin. London: Routledge, 1993.
  • J’aime à toi. Paris: Grasset, 1992. I Love to You: Sketch of a Possible Felicity in History, trans. Alison Martin. London: Routledge, 1996.
  • Être deux. Paris: Grasset, 1997. To Be Two, trans. Monique M. Rhodes and Marco F. Cocito-Monoc. London: Routledge, 2000.
  • Entre Orient et Occident. Paris: Grasset, 1999. Between East and West: From Singularity to Community, trans. Stephen Pluhacek. New York: Columbia University Press, 2002.