Luce Irigarary - Biography
Luce Irigarary Ph.D.is a Belgian philosopher, psychoanalyst and linguist. She was born in Belgium in 1932. Luce Irigaray earned her doctoral degree in philosophy and also is a Ph.D. in linguistics. Luce Irigaray is a trained psychoanalyst who has studied under Jacques Lacan. She has been the Director of Research in Philosophy at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique de Paris since 1964. She also has a private psychonalyst practice Luce Irigaray is one of the forefront feminist, postmodern, psychoanalytical theorist of our times.
Luce Irigaray received a Masters degree in Philosophy and Art from the University of Louvain in Belguim in 1955. In 1960 she moved to France to study psychology at the University of Paris and she received a Masters degree in 1961. In 1962, Luce Irigaray received a diploma in Psychopathology. It was in 1969 that Luce Irigaray analysed Antionette Fouque, a feminist leader of The Women's Movement (MLF) in Paris. From 1962-1964 she worked for the Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS) in Belguim. In 1964 she began to work as a reserach assistant at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in Paris, where she is currently the Director of Philosophy.
Luce Irigaray trained to become a psychoanalyst under Jacques Lacan, after participating in his psychoanalytic seminars. In 1968 she received her Doctorate of Linguistics. In 1970 Luce Irigaray began teaching at University of Vincennes in Paris. During this time she was also a member of the Ecole Freudienne de Paris (Freudian School of Paris) which was directed by Jacques Lacan.
While studying at the Ecole Freudienne de Paris in 1974, Luce Irigaray published her second doctoral thesis entitled Speculum, de l’autre femme (Speculum of the Other Woman). This controversial piece of work focused on the idea of phallocentrism in Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis. Luce Irigaray criticized the male and phallus-centered point of view in psychoanalytic theory. Phallocentrisim is defined as a belief that is focused on the phallus and the superiority of the male sex. The publication of Luce Irigarary’s thesis led to the expulsion from her position at the University of Vincennes and she was ostracized by the Lacanian community. This publication led to Luce Irigaray being one of the most influntional members of the women’s movement movement in Europe.
Luce Irigaray writes about the idea of motherhood, stating that all women throughout history have had their identity defined by the role of "mother" and "motherhood", even if they never actually have children of their own. Luce Irigaray argues that since the beginning of time women have been associated with nature and unthinking which is in contrast with men who are associated with culture and subjectivity. According to this idea, all aspects of current society are built around the support of the mother and women.
Based on Luce Irigaray’s idea that the function of males in society is not possible without the existence of females, and their continuous role as mother. Luce Irigaray argues that true sexual and gender differences do not exist because sexual difference would require that men and women could achieve the same subjectivity. This subjectivity in Western culture, she argues, is phallocentric and based off of male ideas, making it impossible for females to exist separately. While Luce Irigaray has been a passionate student of psychoanalytic theory and philosophy, much of her studying has led to the development of the theory that the female identity has yet to be stated and is thus declared as an identity independent of male-centric ideas.
Luce Irigaray has intentionally avoided stating what such a female identity should be based around because she encourages females to declare and define this new identity as they deem accurate and appropriate. Every woman could possibly have their own relationship with what being females means. While Luce Irigaray respects many of the ideas of psychoanalytic theory, she believes that women must have another role than one as the "mother". She states that any negative view of females exist not because of how a woman behaves "naturally", but because of the pre-determined, theoretical-bias that has pigeon-holed women into roles and labels. Luce Irigaray encourages both males and females to reconfigure their ideas of their relationships with society and the role that gender has with what is stated as cultural behaviors and what is natural behaviors.
Luce Irigaray writes about the role of the definition of sexual identity and the philosophical weight that is associated with it. She argues that this is one of the most important debates of our time. While sexual difference is usually defined by the anatomical definition of gender, Luce Irigaray’s opinions are in line with the philosopher Jacques Lacan. Both Jacques Lacan and Luce Irigaray believe that sexual difference is a product of language and linguistics, not anatomy. While luce Irigaray is critical of Jacques Lacan, she is also inspired by his interpetation of Sigmund Freud and his theory of subject formation. Sigmund Freud explains his theory that the idea of an ego (self-consciousness), or awareness of the body is neither purely a physical or psychic process. In response, Jacques Lacan claims that a childs formation of identity comes from the interpretation of an imaginary body and being assigned a gender role through language.
Luce Irigaray played an important role in the Women’s movement (MLF) in Paris in the 1970’s, but since has refused t be associated with one specific group. At one point she was a voal advocate for contraception and abortion rights and spoke at various conferences and seminars around Europe, many of these talks have been published. In 1982 Luce Irigaray became the chair of the department of Philosophy at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam. During this time she wrote An Ethics of Sexual Difference which made her known as one of the most influential Continental philosophers. She conducted much of her research on the differences in language between woman and men during this time.
Luce Irigaray has written and published many books, lectures and essays Speculum of the Other Woman (1974), The Sex Which is Not One (1977), When Our Lips Speak Together (1977), And the Other Doesn’t Stir Without the Other (1979), Marine Lover: Of Friedrich Nietzsche (1980), Elemental Passions (1982), Belief Itself (1983), The Forgetting of Air: In Martin Heidegger (1983), An Ethics of Sexual Difference (1984), To Speak is Never Neutral ( 1985), Sexes and Genealogies (1987), Thinking the Difference: For a Peaceful Revolution (1989), Je, tu, nous: Towards a Culture of Difference (1990), I Love to You: Sketch for a Felicity Within History (1990), Democracy Begins Between Two (1994), To Be Two (1997), Between East and West: From Singularity to Community (1999), The Way of Love, Sharing the World (2008).