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Feminist Aesthetics and the Politics of Modernism$
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Ewa Plonowska Ziarek

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780231161497

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231161497.001.0001

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Abstract Commodity Form and Bare Life

Abstract Commodity Form and Bare Life

(p.128) 4 Abstract Commodity Form and Bare Life
Feminist Aesthetics and the Politics of Modernism

Ewa Płonowska Ziarek

Columbia University Press

This chapter provides a feminist diagnosis of form and political violence by juxtaposing the commodification of female bodies with the biopolitics of race and gender. It also compares the operations of form in two seemingly different domains—in civil society (the relations of production and exchange) and in the state (in particular, sovereign violence determining inclusion and exclusion from the political). What this confrontation of biopolitics with commodified sexed and racialized bodies shows is the mutual implication of political violence and the abstraction of social forms, in particular, the commodity form and that of citizenship. The diverse material effects of such violence is examined further in Agamben's bare life and the hunger striking suffragettes; in Orlando Patterson's notion of social death and Hortense Spillers's hieroglyphics of black flesh; in Irigaray's commodified bodies and Adorno's membra disjecta; and in the destroyed bodies of the potential black female writers in Larsen's novels.

Keywords:   political violence, female bodies, biopolitics, commodification, destroyed bodies, citizenship

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