In this incisive and truly impressive book, Ian Burkitt critically addresses the dualism between mind and body, thought and emotion, rationality and irrationality, and the mental and the material, which haunt the post-Cartesian world. Drawing on the work of contemporary social theorists and feminist writers, he argues that thought and the sense of being a person is inseparable from bodily practices within social relations, even though such active experience may be abstracted and expanded upon through the use of symbols. Overcoming classic dualisms in social thought, Burkitt argues that bodies are not purely the constructs of discourses of power: they are also productive, communicative, and invested with powerful capacities for chang
Chapter 5: Feminism and the Challenge to Dualism
Feminism and the Challenge to Dualism
So far in this book I have been writing about the body as if all human bodies were identical and the experiences drawn from them were the same. This more abstract project was an attempt to write about general themes of Cartesian dualism within Western culture and the challenges to it. However, over the past thirty years, one of the main challenges to Cartesian dualism has come from feminism, a movement — both academic and political — which has insisted on the difference of human bodies and that the Cartesian assumption of a single body reducible to the metaphor of machine is part of the power relations which have closed women and minority groups ...