Marjorie Garber, Beatrice Hanssen, Rebecca L. Walkowitz (eds) (2000) The Turn to Ethics.

Routledge: New York and London. ISBN 0- 415-92226-7

On the impossibility of finding one’s way to ethics

Joanna Zylinska

The ‘turn to ethics’ postulated in the title of this collection is an ambiguous phrase. It embraces the contradictory manoeuvres such as a ‘turn away from politics’ towards moralism and ‘self-righteousness’ on the one hand, and an exploration (or what the editors call ‘recentering’) of the ethical perspective ‘after post-structuralism’ on the other. The essays included here do not always belong to one of these two positions, instead meandering between different academic and intellectual approaches and schools of thought. The majority of articles either directly refer to Emmanuel Levinas’s ethical thinking or at least remain in a (sometimes unacknowledged) dialogue with the Levinasian concepts of identity and alterity. From this perspective, ethics is not seen as one of the disciplines of traditional philosophy but rather as existing ‘before ontology’, and calling into question our relationship to being – to ourselves, others, and the world around us. In her contribution to this volume Judith Butler presents us with a helpful explication of Levinas’s ethical theory:

Given that we reflect ethically on the principles and norms that guide our relations to others, are we not, prior to any such reflection, already in relation to others such that that reflection becomes possible – an ethical relation that is, as it were, prior to all reflection? For Levinas, the Other is not always or exclusively elsewhere; it makes its demand on me, but it is also of me: it is the constitutive relation of this subject to the ethical, one that both constitutes and divides the subject from the start. (18)

The essays which make up The Turn to Ethics analyse the relationship between self and other in an ethical context, where otherness itself can take a number of forms, from the alterity of another human being – be it a subaltern subject, a beloved person or a prematurely born baby – to the strangeness of the inanimate in the form of literature, language or even, as in Barbara Johnson’s contribution, a teddy bear. It is the negotiation of the contradictory desires for possession and separation, for proximity and distance, that the authors are committed to exploring, while also providing a reflection on the question of ethicality as such and its relation to the political. Bringing together a number of threads – different perspectives on Levinasian ethics, the debate between the supporters of distribution and recognition in moral philosophy, the production of the ‘other’ in the discourse of multiculturalism – the essays reflect the wider disagreements and polemics among cultural theorists, political theorists and moral philosophers in contemporary academe.

This dimension of polemos, of clearly defined antagonism, is highlighted as an inevitable part of a democratic society by Chantal Mouffe in her essay ‘Which Ethics for Democracy?’. Suspicious of ‘humanitarian crusades and ethically correct good causes’, Mouffe understands the current ‘turn to ethics’ as a retreat from politics, resulting from the lack of any credible political alternative to the current dominance of liberalism. Accusing contemporary liberals of being unable to recognise hostility and antagonism as inherent parts of human society, she attempts to dispel the myth of democracy as tolerant coexistence or, worse, general friendliness. Ethics, which she also calls ‘moralism’, is thus for her a sign of the atrophy of the political, fed by the fantasy of the human as a rational being, able to forge solid social contracts. By pointing to the fact that every consensus is only a ‘temporary stabilisation of power’ which always involves some kind of exclusion (an argument with which the readers of Laclau and Mouffe’s Hegemony and Socialist Strategy will be familiar), Mouffe calls for the mobilisation of passions and for the recognition of the unavoidability of ‘agonistic confrontation’ among those who posit different values as worth fighting for. The recognition of a dimension of ‘irreducible alterity’ brings her back to ethics, now understood in the Levinasian sense as ‘respect for the alterity of the other’. The ethical dimension of political life interpreted in this light leads to a concept of ‘pluralist democracy’ in which the alterity of the other (i.e. political party, social group, individual, discursive formation) always challenges – if not disarms – the mastery of those who have temporarily acquired some form of power. While I could not agree more with Mouffe’s lucid analysis of contemporary political life, her concept of ‘democracy as inhabited by pluralism’ (93) makes me wonder if, due to its openness to the forms of difference that traditional political discourse cannot always envisage or predict, this kind of socio-political organisation still merits the name ‘democracy’? Protected ‘against any attempts of closure’ (93), hospitable radical democracy risks becoming the monster whose name we do not yet know.1 But, for this form of political organisation to remain ethical in the Levinasian sense, perhaps this is a risk we have to be prepared to take?

Nancy Fraser’s ‘Recognition without the Other’ provides us with an example of antagonism in contemporary political discourse: i.e. the relationship between two opposing political options stemming respectively from Kant’s Moralität and Hegel’s Sittligkeit: redistribution and recognition. The supporters of the first option, which she dubs ‘the right’, are, according to Fraser, more interested in class politics and social equality, while the proponents of recognition – ‘the good’ – focus on identity politics and multiculturalism. To many cultural studies/cultural theory scholars and continental philosophers this polarisation must seem problematic – after all, the debate between ‘identity’ and ‘difference’ has been conducted along more fluid, less categorical lines: one can think here, for example, not only of the work of Emmanuel Levinas, Jacques Derrida and Luce Irigaray, but also Stuart Hall, Paul du Gay or Angela McRobbie, to mention only a few names. In fact, Fraser herself is aware that these are actually false oppositions: after all, both redistribution and recognition are regulated by justice. She concludes that neither redistribution nor recognition theorists have so far succeeded in adequately addressing and resolving the concerns of the other and then calls for ‘the parity of participation’, which will allow members of society to interact with one another as peers. This is the point at which, it seems to me, Mouffe’s dimension of antagonism, seen as unavoidable in a democratic society (or Lyotard’s differend, to refer to another concept that challenges the seemlessness of the dialogic social organism), is eliminated. Not only that: by reducing what Levinas describes as the infinite alterity of the other to parity, the possibility of ethics is in fact foreclosed. Fraser does recognise that the principle of participatory parity ‘sometimes must be supplemented by ethical considerations’ but she is keen to ‘postpone the turn to ethics for as long as possible’. My (Levinas-inflected) understanding of ethics differs considerably from Fraser’s, which is why I have problems with accepting her belief that ‘ethical evaluation has to kick in’ (sic) only when deontological considerations prove insufficient. For me, ethics is not something that can ‘kick in’ whenever we need it, when we are stuck for the lack of other options and when deontological reasoning fails us; nor am I convinced about the advocacy against ‘turning prematurely to ethics’. I am more interested in recognising ethical instances in every situation of being exposed to the alterity of the other as well as tracing the ethico-political spectrum – or what Derrida calls a ‘lacuna’ and a ‘hiatus’ (1999a, 20) – that envelopes the instances of everyday life. The argument for me is not whether to ‘distribute equally’ or ‘respect clearly defined difference’ but rather how to be prepared for facing difference always anew, without fixing it in the identitarian categories promoted not only by certain social equality movements but also by certain forms of identity politics.

This is precisely the question Beatrice Hanssen approaches in her contribution to this volume. Her ‘Ethics of the Other’ could be seen as a response to Fraser’s debate of moral philosophy, but it also goes further by asking two fundamental questions: ‘Who is the other?’ and ‘Whose ethics is it?’. Indebted to a number of thinkers within twentieth century politics who attempted ‘to undo epistemic and ontological regimes of the self that violate the alterity of the other’ – e.g. Husserl, Buber, Levinas, Lacan and Derrida – Hanssen follows them in situating her ethical project between the two opposing options of universalism and particularism, or distribution and recognition. Aware of the need to respect the alterity of the other but also wary not to objectify this otherness, she asks: ‘How to recognise the subaltern other?’. Focusing on the question of multiculturalism as an ethico-political terrain in contemporary postcolonial societies she revisits the work of Frantz Fanon in order to cast a light on the emergence of the concepts of identity and difference in the colonial situation. Pointing to the pathological incorporation of the white other as Ideal-I – clearly visualised in Fanon’s Black Skin White Masks – she interprets Fanon’s work as a mediation of ‘the dream of true universalism’ through ‘the cultural particularism of the Antillean subject’. As multi-ethnic societies are also multi-ethic, Hanssen concludes her piece by evoking the Levinasian concept of ‘radical openness’ which will help us construct ‘a truly emancipatory pluralist politics’. Hanssen does not say this directly, but in the light of Mouffe’s argument presented above, we may conclude that a ‘truly’ pluralist politics must necessarily embrace the dimension of antagonism.

It is the way in which we negotiate these antagonisms that contemporary political and ethical theories could, maybe even should, be interested in exploring. Homi Bhabha follows Hanssen’s discussion of multiculturalism with his own questioning of the notions of ‘culture’ and ‘cultural choice’ in multicultural societies. Against the liberal concept of ‘culture-as-self-containedness’ offering a clearly defined repertoire of choices, Bhabha understands culture, after Clifford Geertz, as responsibility of engaging with cultural ‘strangeness’, situated beyond the ‘us-them’ binarism. What emerges as a result of an engagement with such forms of cultural difference is ‘an agonistic and ambivalent subject of a double, decentred multicultural choice’. Riven by the tensions between the politics of recognition and identification, the subject of/in a multicultural society should be seen as simultaneously located in a cultural specificity and dis-located by the otherness of the other. Self-critical joke-work is for Bhabha one realm where the negotiation of the relationship between I and you, between self-respect and criticism of the other, takes place. Mediated by the Third (or what Levinas defines as justice), this negotiation does not eliminate the dimension of antagonism but it is situated beyond the binary master-slave dialectic: ‘Through the very performance of the self-critical joke-work there emerges a structure of identification . . . that provides a way for minority communities to confront and regulate the abuse that comes from “outside” or the criticisms that emerge from within the community itself. . . . To have a share in the collective person is to resist both the homogeneity and horizontality of communal experience’ (195-6).

Judith Butler’s piece, ‘Ethical Ambivalence’, is an attempt to negotiate her relationship to the communal experience of Jewishness: its ethics, memory and responsibility. By acknowledging her share in a communal Jewish experience Butler participates at the same time in what Bhabha describes as ‘the process of division, partialisation, and separation’. And it is precisely this relationship between belonging and separation, between ethics and violence, that her article investigates. Butler begins by siding with Nietzsche on his contempt towards ‘the slave morality’, but also feels uneasy about the Nietzschean association of the latter with the Jews. Initially dubious about Levinas’s ethics as ‘respect for the alterity of the other’, where the other is said to ‘persecute the self’ and permanently question him/her, Butler offers a synopsis of her own intellectual trajectory ‘towards Levinas’. She concludes that the works of Nieztsche and Levinas are not so far away as she originally perceived them, as Nietzsche’s noble man and his slave are actually placed in the order of commonality ‘that puts the distinction between subordinator and subordinated into useful crisis’. Through the analysis of the question of promise in case of the former and morality in the latter, she concludes that both the noble man and the slave are dependent on memory which inevitably involves self-violence and self-terrorisation (i.e. I hold myself hostage to my earlier promise, to the words uttered, or to the ressentiment I hold against my persecutor). Since for Levinas there is no self prior to its persecution by the Other, an ethical relation of responsibility seems also to bear a violent mark. While her blurring of the boundaries between persecutor and persecuted, self and other, in an ethical context might be seen as a ‘turn away from ethics’ – and will undoubtedly cause offence to some, especially as it appears in the context of Jewish morality, communality and memory – Butler is in fact interested in preserving ethics ‘in spite of’ its violence. She writes, ‘What remains to be considered is how this scene of ethical inversion nevertheless leads to a responsibility that is, by definition it seems, constantly confounded by self-preservation and its attendant aggressions’ (26). Stripping ethics off its historical pretence, laying it bare, exposed and vulnerable, Butler positions responsibility as an inevitable part of the relationship with the other, even if not a guarantee of its positive fulfilment. This kind of ethics will not rely on the previously defined code of rules – instead, one can only perform (as well as, inevitably, mis-perform) it.

An example of what we might call, after Butler, performative ethics can be found in Perri Klass’s ‘The Best Intentions: Newborn Technologies and Bioethical Borderlines’. This is a fascinating article by a medical doctor working in the area of neonatology, ‘a field always much concerned with borders and borderlines’ (74). Klass describes ethics in practice, in the sense of, on the one hand, everyday medical practice and, on the other, as practised every day in medicine. This is a kind of ethics that doesn’t rely on fixed rules but which rather emerges through a number of singular decisions that medical practitioners constantly have to make. Klass’s article is haunted by the following question: what about the ghosts?, i.e. what about those whom doctors were unable to save in the past because of the inadequate medical technology at the time? She also draws attention to the need for developing a language in which one might be ethical in biomedicine, i.e. in which to make decisions about premature babies. In its self-reflexivity the discourse of biomedical ethics can thus be described as performative because it also involves establishing how to make decisions, not only what decisions to make.

While it is newly born babies that are positioned as our ethical ‘others’ in Klass’s article, Barbara Johnson’s essay, ‘Using People: Kant with Winnicott’ is an interesting attempt to expand Levinas’s encounter with the other beyond the realm of human others to the area of things. Inspired by Winnicott, she formulates her problem as follows: can we use people otherwise? She considers what would happen if the capacity to become a subject were something that could be best learned from an object, ‘like a smelly blanket with a frayed edge’. Using Winnicott’s idea of transitional objects Johnson argues that the inability to use people, i.e. to acknowledge that they are not part of the self and that they also usually survive the self’s attempt at destroying them, is a sign of the lack of proper development, of being confined to a narcissistic stage. This theory is based on the analytical situation, which in itself constitutes a model of transaction. For selfhood to be gained, otherness has to be first used then lost, i.e. the object, which stands for the other, has to be decathected.

It is a thought-provoking discussion which is nevertheless unnecessarily posited as a polemic against Levinas and against his claim that the subject finds itself in the position of power. Johnson’s piece opens with what seems to me like a misreading of Levinas, even though she claims that she intends to quarrel with ‘Levinas’ effects’ (whatever that means) and not Levinas himself. For Johnson, the Levinasian subject is presupposed as intrinsically powerful, and thus ethics is understood only as a form of restraint, i.e. a decision not to show violence towards the other. However, in Levinas the subject is both potentially violent and lacking. In fact, this violence can often be seen as a reaction to the subject’s experience of incompleteness. The subject’s power is not necessarily presupposed as a given but rather taken account of as a condition of an ethical moment. Levinas’s otherness is always already part of the self, and thus the passage between self and other that Winnicott’s theory of transitional objects proposes shouldn’t be posited as a radical departure from Levinas’s ethics. In fact, I find Levinas’s ethics more appealing because, unlike the ethics developed from Winnicott, it always already comes from the other, and thus defies the ultimate primacy and mastery of the self.

Johnson’s is not the only essay in this collection which explores the ethical relationship between human self and nonhuman others. A considerable part of the book is devoted to the exploration of an ethical dimension of our relationship with literature. Lawrence Buell, author of the opening article, ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About Ethics’, is particularly interested in tracing what he describes as ‘ethics and literature conversations’. Buell is a very methodological writer. Slightly confused or even troubled by the fact that the term ethics is used in so many different contexts today, he employs a whole variety of ‘measurement terms’ which help him grasp or take control of the field that seems to be becoming more and more undescribable. As a result, his piece is extremely formulaic: he starts with a number of statistics on the appearance of the term ethics in contemporary literary studies, then issues lists for different angles or aspects from which ethics can be analysed. However, Buell still refers to ethics and literature as two clearly delineated or defined fields. In his desire to systhematise ethics in relation to other ‘disciplines’ and ‘theories’, Buell defines Levinas’s approach as a model of poststructuralist analysis – a conclusion that certainly needs justification, if it is justifiable at all. Even though his piece constitutes an interesting attempt to expand Levinas’s theory beyond his relationship with the human other, it results in the narrowing of the scope of ethical situations as delineated by Levinas to a relationship between a human reader and an inanimate book. For me the main problem with Buell’s analysis lies in his understanding of writing only as literary writing. He does not make use of Derrida’s reading of textuality or Laclau’s interpretation of discursivity, instead reducing the notion of text to what actually appears on the pages of a book. Buell’s ethical proposal is therefore quite conservative: trying to reintroduce ethics to literary studies ‘after poststructuralism’ he is not prepared to rethink and challenge the perception of literature as an independent realm of study or experience.

In a similar vein, John Guillory’s article, ‘The Ethical Practice of Modernity: the Example of Reading’ focuses on literature as the realm of the ethical, but it also explores the relationship between aesthetics, politics and ethics. Guillory’s definitions of ethics, politics and morality have strong Foucauldian underpinnings. His claim that the turn to ethics is a turn away from the political can be sustained only when we understand the political in the sense of political fantasy (i.e. belief in the possibility of transforming the world through some kind of academic or disciplinary practice). Guillory claims further that in modernity ethics has been reduced to morality, meaning the need to choose between good and evil which springs out of a sense of obligation. Pre-modern ethics, in turn, consisted of a need to choose between goods and was driven by the possibility of pleasure which was then supposed to lead to self-knowledge. Foucault-inspired ethics as ‘the care of self’ leads Guillory to believe that the modern practice of reading should be seen as belonging in the realm of the ethical because it is a practice which is focussed on the self, and which springs from pleasure and leads to self-improvement. This description refers particularly to so-called lay reading, which he contrasts against professional reading. And yet the distinction between the two seems extremely dubious to me. I’m not sure whether the concept of professional reading, strictly related to work and perceived as a communal activity, can be seen as entirely separate from lay reading, which is described here as both a pleasurable and solitary activity. For Guillory, the two are divided by the unbridgeable gap that separates the inside of the academy from its outside, the distinction which he neither qualifies nor accounts for. What we are posed with in the end is the call for the rediscovery of pleasure in professional reading, which is only valid provided we accept the binary divisions that orientate Guillory’s views. The statement that professional readers read more in political terms, that is to say in terms of reading’s effect on the other, than in ethical terms (i.e. in terms of pleasure leading to sell improvement), should not be treated as self-evident. It seems to rely on a very rigid distinction between self and other, a distinction which, from the point of view of Levinas’s ethics, for example, would be seen as intrinsically non-ethical and violent. Guillory’s turn to ethics results in a return to the fossilised categories of identity and belonging that have been radically problematised in recent literary and cultural studies.

The radical distinction between professional and lay reading is reiterated by Doris Sommer. Her piece ‘Attitude, Its Rhetoric’ opens with the following statement: ‘We critics and teachers are trained to recognise the rhetorical work in a work of art; and this makes us wary and reflective about the “lay” pleasures of a text’ (202). Alienating from the very start not only myself but, I am convinced, legions of other ‘critics and teachers’ who are familiar with, for example, Roland Barthes’ The Pleasure of the Text (1975 sic!), Helene Cixous’ ‘The Laugh of the Medusa’ and Rootprints as well as the plethora of work in cultural studies on the pleasure of experiencing different forms of cultural practices (see, for example, McRobbie (1999), Carter (1984)), Sommer then goes on to point out that – surprise! – this attitude can be a little limiting. And yet she continues using the notions of ‘talent’, ‘artfulness’ and ‘beauty’ as if they had remained undisputed in literary and cultural theory. I have to admit I find this attitude, combined with Sommer’s support for the liberal toleration of difference and her call ‘to refine readerly competence’ (216), somewhat offensive. Her attempt to draw on Levinas to justify her concept of ‘text as alterity’ results in a kind of ‘amputated Levinasianism’, where difference if pre-decided and thus deserves a ‘differentially earned esteem’. (One has to remember that for Levinas respect is not ‘earned’ but rather should be seen as an inevitable challenge of alterity towards sameness, i.e. it’s a condition of every encounter with difference, even if ethical behaviour cannot be guaranteed.) This ‘earned respect’ is thus taught by teachers and critics, well-versed in the artfulness of texts and able to master their surprises. Indeed, Sommer begrudges the fact that ‘our culturally relativist habits of reading don’t prepare us for rhetorical surprises’ (209): but isn’t it in the nature of the surprise that we cannot be prepared for it? Doesn’t the attempted mastery of surprise, of the future, result in what Derrida terms ‘a predictable, calculable, and programmable tomorrow’ (1995, 387) and thus leads to the annihilation of the actual surprise? Instead of a ‘turn to ethics’ we are posed with the return of the literary, with all its traditional institutions, discourses and conventions.

Rebecca Walkowitz’s concluding piece on ‘Cosmopolitan Ethics’ returns to the ethical problematic delineated by Hanssen and Bhabha and highlights the dimension of irreducible alterity in every (multicultural) society. Literature is for Walkowitz not a hermetic realm of otherness but rather a platform of negotiation with some other socio-political and ethical aspects of a given culture. Responding to the oppositions outlined by Fraser, she argues that ‘the particularism or universalism of individual works of literature, their placement in the world and relation to their readers, may be the contested subject rather than the confirmed context of their narratives (223-4). Recognising that a cosmopolitan ethics, made up of ‘the ethical fictions’, is difficult to apply, Walkowitz nevertheless stops short of examining the performative violence that the institutions of literature create and legitimate under the guise of ‘morality’.

To conclude, I applaud the editors of this collection for attempting to resituate the discourse of ethics outside traditional philosophy, and to stage a polemic between different disciplines and viewpoints regarding their understanding of, and relation to, alterity. But what is missing for me here is a clearer articulation of the trajectories which had already marked such a ‘turn to ethics’ and thus addressed a number of problems this book is struggling with upfront. I was particularly disappointed not to see here any acknowledgement of Jacques Derrida’s deconstructive philosophy or Luce Irigaray’s ethics of sexual difference. Both thinkers have not only engaged with Levinas’s ouevre on numerous occasions – one can mention here, for example, Derrida’s ‘Violence and Metaphysics’ or Adieu to Emmaneul Levinas and Irigaray’s ‘Questions to Emmanuel Levinas’ or Ethics of Sexual Difference – but have also developed fascinating responses to his work in the context of politics, individual and communal hospitality and sexuated identity. Indeed, Butler’s conclusion which rounds off her article, ‘Certain kinds of values, such as generosity and forgiveness, may only be possible through a suspension of this [i.e. Levinasian – J.Z.] mode of ethicality and, indeed, by calling into question the value of ethics itself'(27) had been explored before at numerous points by Derrida, who nevertheless perceives this temporary suspension, or, better, questioning, of ethics as a condition of – rather than a departure from – ethicality. Every act of making a decision requires a suspension of knowledge; it is a leap of faith in which responsibility is assumed. And yet, without this suspension of knowledge there would be no ethics and no responsibility, but only foreclosed, sealed and non-negotiable ‘decision’. As Derrida explains, ‘this is not only a problem but the aporia we have to face constantly’. This aporia, for Derrida, does nor signify paralysis: rather ‘the aporia or the nonway is the condition of walking; if there was no aporia we wouldn’t walk, we wouldn’t find our way; path-breaking implies aporia. This impossibility to find one’s way is the condition of ethics’. (1999b, 73) There is a good chance, then, that this ‘turn to ethics’ will prove to be a wrong turn: and yet it is our task and responsibility to keep walking.


1 See also Judith Butler: Democracy itself can be affected by the monstrous aspect of the future, perhaps to such a degree that relying on the democratic framework of society would become impossible. As Derrida puts it,

A monster is always alive, let us not forget. Monsters are living beings. The monster is also that which appears for the first time and, consequently, is not yet recognised. A monster is a species for which we do not yet have a name, which does not mean that the species is abnormal, namely, the composition or hybridisation of already known species. Simply, it shows itself [elle se montre] – that is what the word monster means – it shows itself in something that is not yet shown and that therefore looks like a hallucination, it strikes the eye, it frightens precisely because no anticipation had prepared one to identify this figure. (1995, 386)

Derrida’s insistence on the withdrawal of our expectations regarding the arrival of the monster, his abandonment of the desire to ‘possess’ the monster, whose very monstrosity is only preserved in the deferral of its arrival, draw our attention to the element of unexpectedness characterising the future. What we are presented with is the promise itself, which deprives us of the possibility of devising an ethics based on identity and presence: ‘it shows itself as something that is not yet known’. I develop this point further in ‘Webwords: From the Spider’s Web to Cyberspace’ included in my book On Spiders, Cyborgs and Being Scared: the Feminine and the Sublime (Manchester University Press, 2001).


Barthes, R. (1975) The Pleasure of the Text. Trans. Richard Miller. New York: Hill & Wang.

Carter, E. (1984) ‘Alice in the Consumer Wonderland’. In Gender and Generation, eds. Angela McRobbie and Mica Nava. London: Macmillan.

Cixous, H. ‘The Laugh of the Medusa’. In Feminisms. Eds Robyn Warhol and Diane Price Herndl. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

Cixous, H. and Calle-Gruber, M. (1997) Rootprints. Trans. Eric Prenowitz. London and New York: Routledge.

Derrida J. (1978) ‘Violence and Metaphysics: An Essay on the Thought of Emmanuel Levinas’. In: Writing and Difference. Trans. Alan Bass. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Derrida, J. (1995) ‘Passages – from Traumatism to Promise’. In Points . . . Interviews, 1974-1994, Jacques Derrida. Ed. Elizabeth Weber. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Derrida, J. (1999a) Adieu to Emmanuel Levinas. Trans. Pascale-Anne Brault and Michael Naas. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Derrida, J. (1999b) ‘Hospitality, Justice and Responsibility: a Dialogue with Jacques Derrida’. In Questioning Ethics: Contemporary Debates in Philosophy. Eds Richard Kearney and Mark Dooley. London and New York: Routledge.

Irigaray, L. (1991) ‘Questions to Emmanuel Levinas’. In The Irigaray Reader. Ed. Margaret Whitford. Oxford: Blackwell.

Irigaray, L. (1993) An Ethics of Sexual Difference. Trans. Carolyn Burke and Gillian C. Gill. London: The Athlone Press.

Laclau, E., and Mouffe. C. (1985) Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics. London and New York: Verso.

McRobbie, A. (1999) In the Culture Society: Art, Fashion and Popular Music. London and New York: Routledge.

Joanna Zylinska is Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies at the University of Surrey Roehampton, UK. She is Book Reviews Editor for Culture Machine.