1st Edition

Indifferent Boundaries
Spatial Concepts of Human Subjectivity

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ISBN 9780898625721
Published February 18, 1978 by Guilford Press
169 Pages

USD $28.00

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Book Description

A provocative and illuminating work, Indifferent Boundaries explores the ways that concepts of subjectivity are vitally grounded in metaphors of and assumptions about space. Kathleen Kirby demonstrates how changes that have taken place in real and conceptual space from the Renaissance to the postmodern era have led to a critical rearticulation of the subject by feminist, psychoanalytic, and poststructuralist theorists, among others. Tracing changing ideas about the self--from the stable form of the Enlightenment individual to the postmodern sujet en procès appraises both the liberatory possibilities and the everyday cultural implications of the contemporary "space of the subject." This tenacious and substantive investigation of the lexicon of space sheds much needed light in previously dark corners of the poststructuralist edifice, and is certain to appeal to a broad, interdisciplinary audience.

The volume opens with a discussion of the proliferation of spatial language in current theoretical discourse. Kirby highlights the reformative powers of representation, proposing that the recent emphasis on space results from the praxis-oriented attempt of theory to reconcile the realms of language and reality. Elegantly reasoned chapters cover topics including:
* Feminist theory and the politics of location
* Renaissance versus postmodern practices of mapping
* Freudian subjectivity and the twentieth century deterioration of space
* Poststructural philosophy and the reconfiguration of the subject
* The physical and psychic contours of gendered subjectivity

Throughout, Kirby critically evaluates the cultural implications of varying representations of subjectivity, skillfully navigating the increasingly permeable boundary between the individual self and the shared social and political landscape.



Kathleen M. Kirby graduated from the Modern Studies program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1992. She has taught English and Women's Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Syracuse University, and the University of New Hampshire. Her articles on space, politics and subjectivity have been published in New Orleans Review, American Imago, and boundary 2. She currently lives, writes, and works in New Hampshire.


'A powerful book, shot through with an autobiographical tone yet winningly argued.' - Paul Smith, George Mason University, USA

Anyone interested in the politics of space and subjectivity will find this an immensely rewarding, thought-provoking and invaluable read.
- Steve Pile, The Open University