Sacrificed Lives

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"In this well-crafted and scholarly work, Reineke argues that an analysis of the contemporary culture of violence through the lens of gender reveals a sacrificial economy." —Religious Studies Review

"... handled with the kind of concise, cogent, and insightful criticism that readers of Reineke have come to expect... " —Women’s Studies International Forum

"By elaborating key notions of Kristeva in the context of her questions about violence, Reineke develops aspects of Kristeva’s work that will interest not only students of Kristeva, but those who are interested in all forms of social violence, feminist theory, and women's issues as well." —Tamsin Lorraine

Why did medieval women mystics starve themselves? Why were "witches" hunted, tortured, and killed? Why has the Christian West found maternal figures threatening? To answer these questions, Reineke advances a theory of sacrifice, inspired by Julia Kristeva and René Girard, that attempts to account for women’s special vulnerability to violence in Western culture.

Indiana University Press

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253211286
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/1997
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Martha J. Reineke is Associate Professor of Religion and Director of the Graduate Program in Women’s Studies at the University of Northern Iowa.

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Part I

Chapter 1 Introduction

I. Framing the Problem of Violence
II. Kristeva’s Psychoanalytic Theory: A Helpful Resource for Feminists?
III. An Outline of Life-Sentences

Chapter 2 Kristeva in Context: Psychoanalysis, Feminism, and Beyond

I. The Lacanian Context: Human Existence as a Practice of Absence
II. The Lacanian Context Subverted: Kristeva’s Theory of the Unconscious
III. The Lacanian Context Enfleshed: Kristeva’s Theory of Sacrifice
IV. A Critical Context: Kristeva and Feminist Theory
A. Kristeva and Social Constructionism
B. Kristeva and a Libidinal Economy

Chapter 3 The Subject of Psychoanalysis: Death-Work and Agency

I. Drive Theory and Human Agency
II. Drive Theory and the Maternal Body
III. Drive Theory and the Fort/Da Game
IV. Drive Theory, Laughter, and the Sign

Chapter 4 In Search of the Mother in Mimesis: From Death-Work to Sacrifice

I. From Heterogeneity to the Symbolic Order
II. An Orderly Death: Sacrifice and the Symbolic
III. René Girard: Mimesis and Murder
A. Mimetic Desire
B. Surrogate Victimization
C. Ritual and Myth
IV. Kristeva: Mimesis, Mother, and Murder
A. Mimetic Desire
B. Victimization and Sexual Difference
C. Coding Matricide: Abjection, Defilement, Ritual Sacrifice
V. Conclusion

Part II

Chapter 5 ‘This Is My Body:’ Abjection, Anorexia, and Medieval Women Mystics

I. Drawing the Line Somewhere: The Construction of Social Order
A. Eating Order: Food and the Social Body
B. Out of Order: Women and the Social Body
II. Holy Women, Holy Food, and Holy Order
III. Crossing the Line: Abjection and the Abyss

Chapter 6 ‘The Devils Are Come Down Upon Us:’ The Witch as Scapegoat

I. The Witch in Historical Perspective
II. The Witch as Scapegoat
III. The Witch in Mythic Perspective
IV. Witch Hunts and the Work of a Sacrificial Economy
A. The Truth of Torture
B. The Truth of Sacrifice

Chapter 7 Life-Sentences: The Mother in the Cultural Archives of the West

I. Time’s Truth
II. Femme Enceinte: Pregnant Body-Politics
III. The Scapegoat Among Us and the Stranger Within
A. Analysis as a Practice of Strangeness
B. From Fascinated Rejection to Familiar Strangeness
C. A Cautionary Tale of Hoffmann
IV. In Quest of a Strange Politics: Religion, Feminism, Elsewhere?

Indiana University Press

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