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Against abjection.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


<mark>Journal publication date</mark>04/2009
<mark>Journal</mark>Feminist Theory
Issue number1
Number of pages22
Pages (from-to)77-98
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This article is about the theoretical life of `the abject'. It focuses on the ways in which Anglo-American and Australian feminist theoretical accounts of maternal bodies and identities have utilized Julia Kristeva's theory of abjection. Whilst the abject has proved a compelling and productive concept for feminist theory, this article cautions against the repetition of the maternal (as) abject within theoretical writing. It argues that employing a Kristevan abject paradigm risks reproducing, rather than challenging, histories of violent disgust towards maternal bodies. In place of the Kristevan model of the abject, it argues for a more thoroughly social and political account of abjection. This entails a critical shift from the current feminist theoretical preoccupation with the `transgressive potentiality' of `encounters with the abject' to a consideration of consequences of being abject within specific social and political locations.

Bibliographic note

The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Feminist Theory, 10 (1), 2009, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2009 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Feminist Theory page: http://fty.sagepub.com/ on SAGE Journals Online: http://online.sagepub.com/