Critique History Humanities Social Sciences Theory

Assuming a Body: Transgender and Rhetorics of Materiality

By Gayle Salamon, 2010

Salamon suggests that the difference between transgendered and normatively gendered bodies is not, in the end, material. Rather, she argues that the production of gender itself relies on a disjunction between the “felt sense” of the body and an understanding of the body’s corporeal contours, and that this process need not be viewed as pathological in nature. Examining the relationship between material and phantasmatic accounts of bodily being, Salamon emphasizes the productive tensions that make the body both present and absent in our consciousness and work to confirm and unsettle gendered certainties. She questions traditional theories that explain how the body comes to be?and comes to be made one’s own?and she offers a new framework for thinking about what “counts” as a body. The result is a groundbreaking investigation into the phenomenological life of gender.

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