Luana Goulart de Castro Alves - New Voices Research Profile

The central task of my ongoing doctoral research is an attempt to defend the political import of household and domestic activities by stressing their inherent hermeneutical character. One of my main arguments in favour of this hypothesis is based on an interpretation of the important criticism made by Iris Marion Young in “House and Home: Feminist Variation on a Theme” to some phenomenological aspects of Simone de Beauvoir’s and Lucy Irigaray’s philosophical contributions to the topic of home and housework. The central suggestion at stake is that Young’s interesting notion of “homemaking” – as opposed to “houseworking” – offers a picture according to which the hermeneutical aspect of household activities is decisive to their proper interpretation, particularly with respect to their political import. I argue that this is crucial in accounting for the role of women, who are in many senses responsible for their performance, in political dynamics, both current and throughout history. Based on this idea and building upon Gadamerian philosophical hermeneutics, I propose a general criticism of feminist theoretical developments that somehow rely on de Beauvoir’s traditional opposition between transcendent vs. immanent activities and modes of being in interpreting the notion of woman and in setting (many times definitional) goals for feminist struggles and thought.

I also take a keen interest in Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui’s anti-colonial thoughts and its relations to heideggerian ontology. This serves as basis of my parallel attempt to account for the relations between gender and colonial oppression made evident in the analysis of the role of women weavers in different geographical and historical contexts. This analysis arguably supports the claim that these phenomena depend on appropriative dynamics whose legitimacy is endorsed by ontological reductions that follow from an undue universalisation of conceptions of Being along the lines described by Heidegger.

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