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Her breasted epistemology: How breaststroking embroidery usefully transforms contemporary politics of reproduction into a situated knowledge about sexed identity fabricated from mothering women's sexy bodies

Meckelburg, Patricia Ann (2000) Her breasted epistemology: How breaststroking embroidery usefully transforms contemporary politics of reproduction into a situated knowledge about sexed identity fabricated from mothering women's sexy bodies. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

This thesis discusses what it might mean to live ongoing change and introduces ideas for a sexually differentiated epistemology that is traditionally always 'outside' terrain where it is understood that only ahistoricist ideas about embodiment can possibly circulate. It discusses certain transformative effects of feminine-sexed breastedness upon epistemologies always apparently dependent upon ahistoricist or male-stream understandings of embodiment, revisioning them with ideas about an always changing ontology that is discursively developed from contemporary stories by modern women about their experiences coming to mothering. The idea of experience, as sexual difference, is utilized throughout to represent modern mothering as the simultaneous production of bodies and texts.

In the deployment of feminine-sexed breastedness as paradigm to discuss ideas about 'knowledge', 'the body' and 'experience', the three themes around which the thesis is organized, a breasted epistemology inscribes a dynamic, essentially feminine-sexed subjectivity, 'writing-older-mother', situated at the centre of humanist philosophy's discursive field. In that field, feminist and postmodern ideas about subjectivity and identity formerly dependent upon male-steam philosophy's ahistoricist paradigm of embodiment are liberated from the perceived co-dependency that is the essentialism versus constructionism explanatory dualism. Also liberated from a sole dependency upon ahistoricism to explain reproduction to living women are the medical epistemologies, gynaecology and obstetrics, both perceived as key discourses which have marginalized the female body from representation, evidently ignorant of the essential understanding that, for women, reproduction is sexual.

My dissertation practises the research technique, 'breaststroking', as both metaphor for and method of feminine-sexed identification, including selfidentification, to develop historical narratives from my own perspective or standpoint, borrowing from feminisms' tradition of qualitative research method; that is, the informal interview and group discussion. Breaststroking celebrates the idea that feminine-sexed reproduction be experientially and discursively reclaimed and voices long absent from humanist understanding be now understood as possible ideas for a 'women's discourse'. The dissertation's breaststroking performance of sexual difference, the embroidering of one level of understanding about embodiment with essentialisms so vibrant that deadlocked ideas can be liberated from discursive co-dependencies long thought unchangeable, forever changes the way we can think about and discuss sexuality and textuality.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation: Division of Social Sciences, Humanities and Education
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: repository@murdoch.edu.au. Thank you.
Supervisor(s): De Reuck, Jennifer
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/50884
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