Before identity, gender and human rights

Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos, Andreas (2006) Before identity, gender and human rights. Feminist Legal Studies, 14 (3). pp. 271-291. ISSN 0966-3622

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This is the beginning of an exploration of before as the thesis ‘before’ (temporally) and ‘be-fore’ (spatially) difference. Before denotes the origin and the desired destination. Before (in the double sense of ‘before’ and ‚be-in-the-fore’) opens up a space of pre-difference, of origin and of forgotten memory, as well as a space of desire, objective, illusion of teleology, unity, completion. Applied to the two domains of Human Rights and Sex/Gender, the space of ‘before’ yields two slightly different vistas: in human rights, a premodern, functionally undifferentiated society which had to invent human rights as its safeguards of functional differentiation. In Sex/Gender, 'before' brings a self-referential construction: that of ipseity, as the form of identity beyond comparison that does not play with id but with ipsum. Ipseity is inoperable but not useless. It is inoperable because it cannot be observed from anywhere without suffering rupture. It is not useless because it offers a ground for the reconceptualisation of difference, both through awe and desire.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: University of Westminster > Westminster Law School
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Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2007
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2017 12:36

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