Julia Kristeva’s Maternal Ethics of Alterity : A link to the Other Through the Semiotic and the Abject (M)other

Rosalind Jay

Samedi, Concordia – 10h à 10h45

There are two main considerations that I want to flesh out in this paper. I want to ask that if we consider with Julia Kristeva that (1) maternal-material (dis)passion is the foundation for human passion—as that which opens up a space-time of potentiality for meaning-making in linguistic, ethical, and aesthetic terms—and, following Kristeva’s earlier work Revolution in Poetic Language, (2) semiotic space as a choratic zone—as a precondition for the experience of the symbolic—that these conditions are a twofold manifestation of the attention one must focus toward the pre-symbolic realm of aesthetic affects and their creative (and political) potentiality. Such a focus has the potential to directly effect and affect bodies, ideas, and ways of thinking and being that fall outside of paternal structured-symbolic approaches to being-in-the-world. Primarily focusing on the aesthetic-ethical considerations of Kristeva (and their necessarily correlations in a political-historical situatedness), I will present an argument for the significance of the semiotic as a disruptive force to the seeming-stable symbolic-paternal structures of the world, subjectivity, and psychical space. I argue, in short, to consider with Kristeva the maternal-material choratic pre-condition of the symbolic and its impact on relations with subjectivity and the other, that there are emancipatory consequences not only for aesthetics, but for further considerations of an ethics of alterity that dances in its traces of difference, allowing psychical space to be creatively liberated, and not feared or levelled out.