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The Phenomenology of Gravidity

Reframing Pregnancy and the Maternal through Merleau-Ponty, Levinas and Derrida

Jane Lymer

The Phenomenology of Gravidity explores Continental philosophy of feminism and offers a voice that articulates the specific process of gestation and the concrete experiences of pregnant women as both gendered and particular. Jane Lymer develops the philosophical and ethical implications of an understanding of embodied gestation in feminist philosophy which acknowledges the developmental importance of the maternal-foetal relation to human cognition and our intersubjective relations. Through an engagement with the work of Merleau-Ponty, Levinas and Derrida, The Phenomenology of Gravidity outlines the role of maternal embodiment in our development. It offers a feminist and ethical framework for a hospitality of gravidity which welcomes the place of the pregnant mother in all her guises. « less more »
Rowman & Littlefield International
Pages: 232Size: 6 1/4 x 9 1/2
978-1-78348-687-8 • Hardback • October 2016 • $120.00 • (£80.00)
978-1-78348-689-2 • eBook • October 2016 • $37.95 • (£24.95)
Jane Lymer is a research fellow in Philosophy at the University of Wollongong, Australia.
Part One: Feminism and the Maternal/ 1. Representing Gravidity/ 2. Maternal Hospitality, Ethics and Ontology/ Part Two: The Ontology of Gravidity/ 3. Gestational Accouplement/ 4. Alterity and Maternal Flesh / Part Three: Gestational Hospitality/ 5. Medical Hospitality/ 6. Gestational Identity and a Feminist Manifesto/ Part Four: The Phenomenology of Gravidity/ 7. The Politics of Gravidity- Bonding and Attachment/ 8. Rethinking the Gestational Relation / References / Notes / Index

'a clear, well-written, comprehensible account of the phenomenology of pregnancy, breaking new ground and leading into innovative practical directions especially regarding adoption and surrogacy'

Dr. Denise Russell, Honorary Research Fellow in Philosophy, University of Wollongong

'Lymer’s strikingly perceptive book dismantles images of the pregnant mother as a passive container providing hospitality to a foetus, and reveals gravidity—the actual experience of bearing a child—as a complex, bodily, affective, interactive becoming of mother and child together. An highly original contribution to feminist, phenomenological discussions of pregnancy (Diprose, Guenther, LaChance Adams), with important implications for medicine, law and policy'.
David Morris, Chair & Professor of Philosophy, Concordia University

After conception, a woman is in the state of gravidity; this exciting and significant book explores that embodied and affective experience. Lymer theorises a multiplicity of gestational experiences, and explains how their denial is critical in women’s oppression. It challenges tropes of hospitality and maternity, develops the woman-foetal relation as a prototype of being, and investigates the ethics of gravidity.
Marguerite La Caze, Associate Professor, School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry, The University of Queensland.

"Lymer brings the work of Derrida, Merleau-Ponty and Levinas to bear on the question of the relationship between the gestational human body and the foetus. In doing so, she provides novel insights into the ethics of gestation and pregnancy, and throws significant light on the position of the maternal body in law, philosophy and medicine."
Catherine Mills, Associate Professor, School of Philosophical, Historical & International Studies, Monash University