Coming Together: The Six Modes of Irigarayan Eros
Article first published online: 30 MAR 2011
© by Hypatia, Inc.
Special Issue: Ethics of Embodiment
Volume 26, Issue 3, pages 478–496, Summer 2011
How to Cite
COHOON, C. (2011), Coming Together: The Six Modes of Irigarayan Eros. Hypatia, 26: 478–496. doi: 10.1111/j.1527-2001.2011.01190.x
- Issue published online: 15 JUL 2011
- Article first published online: 30 MAR 2011
Luce Irigaray's provocative vision of eros is often expressed in what Elizabeth Grosz calls “rambling and apparently disconnected” language, and nowhere in Irigaray's texts is it presented as a coherent account. With the goal of elaborating the significance of Irigaray's vision, I here set out to construct such an account. After first defining the Irigarayan erotic encounter as a paradoxical conjunction of “separation and alliance,” I then aim to show that its structure may be productively interpreted in terms of six co-present modes: (i) wonder, the affective mode; (ii) touch, the sensuous mode; (iii) transgression, the subjective mode; (iv) fluidity, the elemental mode; (v) future, the temporal mode; and (vi) threeness, the numerical mode. From this interpretation, I argue, there emerges a new understanding of the immense power of Irigarayan eros as a “sexual or carnal ethics” and as a constitutive force not only for embodied subjectivity and intersubjectivity but also for sexual difference itself.