Publication Details

Utley, F. and Lymer, J. M. (2012). The maternal as hospitality. Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy: Annual Conference 10-12 December, University of Auckland, NZ (p. 39). New Zealand: ASCP.

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ASCP 2012 Conference


There is significant play between the trope of hospitality as providing a political ontology and arguments that the maternal as pregnant embodiment is the original hospitality and thus the grounds of ethical engagement. For example, Diprose’s critique of a political ontology of hospitality identifies that political hospitality is only possible due to women giving their lived time as potential mothers towards establishing and maintaining domestic stability. The more conditional the hospitality the more existing inequities are exploited with women increasingly unlikely to garner recognition for their civil rights over embodiment and reproduction. Alternately Aristarkova argues that the Levinasian-Derridean conception of hospitality would benefit from acknowledging that the dematerialised idea of femininity as familiarity is a description of the maternal relation and it is the maternal body that grounds acts of hospitality. Such acknowledgement would open the possibility for welcoming the maternal into the discourse and provide a solution to Derrida’s aporia of ownership. The structure of images, here primarily the trope of the maternal to guide the development of a concept of the ethical and political subject, must be examined more thoroughly. In this paper we undertake a parallel reading of the maternal and the concept of hospitality by drawing upon La Caze’s work on specific forms of images used in philosophical thinking and Kristeva and Diprose’s work on women’s temporality.