in the Public Sphere
What alternative politics does a theory of the subject-in-process suggest? What concerns should we have about the agency of those whose subjectivity is always a tenuous, fragile, and deeply intersubjective affair? Were we to reject the model of subjectivity that Habefmas holds in favor of a model of subjectivity that Kristeva proposes, would deliberative democracy be possible? Would this theory be useful for feminist politics? As I argue in this chapter, Kristeva herself does not provide an answer to these questions, for her model of politics trails far behind her theory of subjectivity. I show how other strategies, including radical democratic and socialist feminist ones, also fall short. In closing I point to some interpretations of Kristeva’s work that can send us in promising directions.
When Kristeva arrived in Paris in the 1960s, she immediately joined the cultural and intellectual movements sweeping the city, movements that were intrinsically political. Her political activism led to a trip to China, an interest in Maoism, and an investment in the revolutionary potential of events of 1968. But as the promise of the late ‘60s dissipated, so too did her involvement in politics on the large scale. Some might say that she abandoned politics altogether, but Kristeva would disagree.