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Maternal Abject (Kristeva)

  • By: Julie Rodgers
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

It is in The Powers of Horror that Julia Kristeva's theory of the abject and abjection is most rigorously discussed. According to Kristeva, the abject can be defined as that which is radically rejected and excluded by a subject/society, with abjection therefore referring to the actual process of expelling all that is other to oneself. It is through abjection that one manage to create boundaries and establish order (within the self and in society) by pushing the unacceptable and the threatening to the periphery. As the title of Kristeva's text suggests, facing the abject is associated with feelings of horror and revolt, and yet, no matter how furiously it is spurned, the abject never entirely recedes, but rather remains on the margins, hovering and haunting ...

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