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The subject of rape: Feminist discourses on rape and violability in contemporary France

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Kathryn Robson


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Rethinking the Subject(s) of Rape in French Feminism Rape is a tricky issue for feminists, not least because it poses the problem of how to protect women as violable embodied subjects without assuming a mind/body separation that goes against the contemporary conceptualization of the embodied subject. This article explores this tension in feminist discourses in France in the 1970s and uses Luce Irigaray’s radical reconsideration of the embodied subject as intrinsically violable and relational in Democracy Begins Between Two to explore alternative models of rape and violability in twenty-first century France. Analysis of recent rape testimonies, including but not exclusively those recounting the highly mediatised phenomenon of the tournantes, challenges prevailing feminist conceptions of rape ‘victims’ and of an autonomous violable subject. This article mobilises the image of the scar as configured in the rape testimonies in order to rethink (feminist) responses to rape more productively and more openly through acknowledgement of (bodily) violability as site of potential dialogue and resistance.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Robson K

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: French Cultural Studies

Year: 2015

Volume: 26

Issue: 1

Pages: 45-55

Print publication date: 26/02/2015

ISSN (print): 0957-1558

ISSN (electronic): 1740-2352

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.


DOI: 10.1177/0957155814555956


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