本文的中心議題將試圖解決女性主義身體觀所面臨的理論與實踐的困境。受限於篇幅，本文僅將焦點放在瑪芮（LoisMcNay,1999; 2000）和巴特勒（Judith Butler, 1993; 1997）所分別代表的女性主義身體觀。McNay和Butler身體觀的對比就不僅僅只是反映了各自對布爾迪厄（Pierre Bourdieu）和傅科（Michel Foucault）身體觀的理論偏好，還進而凸顯了兩者從性別角度來修正身體觀的見解，從而對女性主義身體政治的發展，有所貢獻。兩相比較，誰的身體政治觀點可以貫徹女性主義要取消抽象的主體性，同時又能以身體為施為（agency）的核心？哪一種女性身體觀，才能抵抗既有權力關係，帶動社會改變？是二擇一的單選題？還是複選題？
Debates between Lois McNay and Judith Butler on Feminist’s Body Politics
Shiu-Ching Wu (Department of Philosophy National Chung Cheng University)
Both Foucault’s analysis of the docile body and Bourdieu’s concept of habitus play crucial roles in the social construction of the gendered body held by many feminist theorists such as, to name just a few, S. Bartky, S. Bordo, M. Gatens, J.Butler and L. McNay. Although not so similar deep down, these feminists share the core idea that body is not given, nor is it everlastingly fixed; instead, body is made, shaped, disciplined and enabled by a set of social(political) relations. However, given the consensus view of body as socially constructed, these feminists disagree at the views about how body resists, revolts, and liberates. The departed routes, to my understanding, reflect the separate theoretical influences of Foucault and Bourdieu on feminists’ body politics. Feminists, who highly influenced by Foucault, incline to take gendered body resistance to be a viable political movement through Foucault’s analysis of the technology of the self. By contrast, feminists under the influence of Bourdieu, who shows how women’s habitus as a result of the unconscious fit between the dominated and the dominant, are pessimistic about the viability of body resistance.
Important questions need to be addressed with regard to the different strategies of the body resistance. Why is the social construction of the body useful for body resistance? As far as gender is concerned, is it not the case that women’s body is only too docile to negotiate to their advantage? How can women’s docile and habitual body turn their weakness into great advantage? If social construction of the body leads to accessible body politics, why would it lead to different crossroads for feminists’ body politics? Which route to take? Is there an alternative to the options now available?
The paper will discuss the debate between McNay and Butler on the body for the sake of making clear distinction between two modes of social construction of the body. The elaboration of the contrast serves three purposes directly related to the thesis of this paper, namely, both views on the social construction of body can be complemented and incorporated into a consistent whole. First, the contrast between McNay and Butler reflects distinctive theoretical influences, i.e., McNay’s Bourdieu’s concept of habitus vs. Butler’s Foucault’s perspective. Second, although greatly influenced by their theoretical mentors, both McNay and Butler challenge their mentors’ theoretical inconsistences by taking gender identity into account; in thus doing, both contribute to the new alternatives to the feminist body politics. Third, both modes of body politics can be complemented by putting the forces of performative resignifications of the abjected within the specific material contexts of bodily habitus and social fields, in order to go beyond the dichotomy of freedom and determinism, and to bring out how bodily habitus negotiate its way within the social constraints to its own advantage,and in thus doing, to its limited freedom. The body that has been socially constructed, as I will demonstrate, has limited freedom within social constraints. The embodied resistance, to my conclusion, invokes neither the abstract notion of the subject, nor any room for social determinism.
embodied action, body politics, M. Foucault, P. Bourdieu, L. McNay, J. Butler