Feminist Philosophy, Pragmatism, and the “Turn to Affect”: A Genealogical Critique

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Title: Feminist Philosophy, Pragmatism, and the “Turn to Affect”: A Genealogical Critique
Authors: Fischer, Clara
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/9622
Date: 14-Oct-2016
Online since: 2019-02-28T10:07:20Z
Abstract: Recent years have witnessed a focus on feeling as a topic of reinvigorated scholarly concern, described by theorists in a range of disciplines in terms of a 'turn to affect.' Surprisingly little has been said about this most recent shift in critical theorizing by philosophers, including feminist philosophers, despite the fact that affect theorists situate their work within feminist and related, sometimes intersectional, political projects. In this article, I redress the seeming elision of the 'turn to affect' in feminist philosophy, and develop a critique of some of the claims made by affect theorists that builds upon concerns regarding the 'newness' of affect and emotion in feminist theory, and the risks of erasure this may entail. To support these concerns, I present a brief genealogy of feminist philosophical work on affect and emotion. Identifying a reductive tendency within affect theory to equate affect with bodily immanence, and to preclude cognition, culture, and representation, I argue that contemporary feminist theorists would do well to follow the more holistic models espoused by the canon of feminist work on emotion. Furthermore, I propose that prominent affect theorist Brian Massumi is right to return to pragmatism as a means of redressing philosophical dualisms, such as emotion/cognition and mind/body, but suggest that such a project is better served by John Dewey's philosophy of emotion than by William James's.
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Wiley
Journal: Hypatia
Volume: 31
Issue: 4
Start page: 810
End page: 826
Copyright (published version): 2016 Hypatia
Keywords: Critical theoryFeminist philosophyPragmatism
DOI: 10.1111/hypa.12296
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice Research Collection

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