Have library access?
  • Journals
  • OpenAccess

Three Kinds of Neighbor, Three Kinds of Violence: Woman and/as the Other in Kathy Acker





女性 他者 異化 暴力 性革命 拉岡

Parallel abstracts

The main concern of this paper is the relationship between the neighbors (the Other) and violence in Kathy Acker's novels. The recurrent theme of Acker's novels is the relationship between woman and violence. Yet, to render woman's relationship with violence, Acker not only represents woman through sexual relationship, but also explores woman as the “Other” of society through various discourses of the Other or the minorities, including the prostitute, the third world people, the poor, lesbians, gays, punks, pirates, etc. The power or rival relationship between the West and the minorities is mediated by the figure of the prostitute: the figure of the prostitute (woman) and the discourses of the Other or minorities reinforce each other in Acker’s novels. Almost all of the heroines in Acker's novels are prostitutes or like prostitutes. The figure of the prostitute serves as the female flaneur who roams around and witnesses repressive violence on the minorities and the latter's revolutionary violence on society. Revolutionary violence can be further divided into two kinds: nihilistic revolution or real revolution. We will single out the figure of the third world, the figure of the punk boys, and the figure of the female motorcyclists or the pirate girls as the three groups of neighbors of the prostitute, who stand for these three kinds of violence: the figure of the third world stands for repressive violence, the figure of the punk boys for nihilistic violence, and the figure of the female motorcyclists or the pirate girls for real revolutionary violence. These three kinds of violence-repressive, nihilistic, and real violence-roughly correspond to the three different kinds of violence posited by Walter Benjamin in his ”Critique of Violence”: law-preserving violence, law-making violence, and pure violence. The figure of the prostitute standing for the paradox of (post)modernity or (post)modern subjectivity is the connection between these three kinds of violence: (post)modern subjectivity, at least for Marx, Baudelaire, Benjamin, and Acker, has to take on the form of violence, a double violence or even triple violence.

Parallel keywords

neighbors the Other violence woman modernity Benjamin Baudelaire


Acker, Kathy.(1984).Blood and Guts in High School.New York:Grove.
Acker, Kathy.(1986).Don Quixote.New York:Grove.
Acker, Kathy.(1988).Empire of the Senseless.New York:Grove.
Acker, Kathy.(1996).Pussy, King of the Pirates.New York:Grove.
André, Serge.,Mark Bracher (Ed.)(1994).Lacanian Theory of Discourse: Subject, Structure, and Society.New York:New York UP.