Querying Cavarero's Rectitude

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    I am inclined to agree with Adriana Cavarero. Inclination, as an archetypal posture, knocks the ‘I’ from its supposed centre of gravity. It lends support to a relational ontology, one that recognises the constitution of human beings as vulnerable subjects. The human, in order to be, depends upon others and there is no way back to an original nature or reason to ground humanity independently of the symbolic and relational mediation of all we do. Yet, in my agreement lurks danger. Agreement disguises a policing of words, of passions, of inclination and its inclinations. If agreement presupposes the symmetrical relations that Cavarero undermines, then agreement is a poisoned chalice. Cavareo’s ‘new fundamental schematism’ premised on maternal inclination and natality too knowingly introduces a new form of propriety. Cavarero deliberately deploys a method of exaggeration to contrast the two dispositifs of verticalisation and relationality. Yet her text is haunted by what it tries to expel. Her ethics reintroduces the rectitude she so cogently dismantles. In this case, the line between her ontology, her politics and her ethics is too straight. I aim to render inclination improper – to read Cavarero so consistently that her consistencies unravel.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationTowards a Feminist Ethics of Nonviolence
    EditorsTimothy J. Huzar, Clare Woodford
    PublisherFordham University Press
    ISBN (Print)9780823290086
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2021


    • Ethics
    • Feminism
    • Relationality
    • Ontology
    • Impropriety


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