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Rozmarin, M. (2012). Reply to Baraitser's and Sheehy's Commentaries. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 13(1):29-32.

(2012). Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 13(1):29-32

Reply to Baraitser's and Sheehy's Commentaries

Miri Rozmarin, Ph.D.

First, I thank Lisa Baraitser (this issue) and Maura Sheehy (this issue) for their profound and insightful responses. Although each point raised by their challenging responses could be the basis for an elaboration, I believe that what may be productive in this stage of the discussion is to take a step back and clarify the status of the project of “maternal subjectivity” as one with political, ethical, and ontological aspects. I expect such a general account would clarify how the argument I presented meets some of the points raised by Baraitser and Sheehy.

In what follows, I sketch the political and ethical concerns and presuppositions that underlie the discussion of maternal subjectivity and how these reshape some of the key concepts in the discussion. Accounting for the political and ethical aspects of maternal subjectivity can also raise the question of the status of psychoanalysis and the explanation it provides to human existence.

Mother is the “silent substratum,” writes Irigaray (1991), and this silence is the result of the mutinying power of normative and conceptual phallocentric constructions, nullifying the site of motherhood from its human content, living there only boring praxis and repetitious entanglement with the physical, the emotional, and the necessities as opposed to the spiritual and rational active freedom of the subject.

Given that in modern philosophy the subject position is associated with the ability to freely give meaning to reality, creating a narrative about motherhood—one that expresses the mother's perspective on her reality, on the relations with the child and the child's life—has been considered by second-wave feminism a crucial aspect of the constitution of maternal subjectivity.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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