Becoming-woman by breaking the waves

Autumn 2009

Begins from the argument that Deleuze’s method of ‘transcendental empiricism’ requires a shift in the way we conceptualise both ‘ethics’ and ‘politics’. This shift is examined in relation to the cinematic thinking of the film Breaking the Waves, since the latter problematises established ideas of what an ethics of (sexual) difference might be, as well as received political values tied to modern individualism such as freedom, autonomy, and reason. Moving through a filmosophical methodology, it is argued that the film manages to provide us with a post-theistic framework that resonates but also pushes further Deleuze’s transcendentalism, opening new paths for a radicalisation of feminist materialist theories. Breaking the Waves provides us with a notion of (becoming-) woman in relation to Man that breaks away from the established discourses of difference, equality, reciprocity and respect that have traditionally informed the Self-Other relation, bringing in the themes of sacrifice, stupidity and belief. The latter constitute new political forces that actualise an-other politics: an affective activism and a vitalist pragmatism, that reinvent freedom on the level of non-representation.

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NF 68 Deluzian Politics?