Vaittinen, Tiina (2022). An Ethics of Needs: Deconstructing Neoliberal Biopolitics and Care Ethics with Derrida and Spivak,
Philosophies 2022, 7(4), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies7040073
The article is Open Access, as is the entire Special Issue Feminist Care Ethics Confronts Mainstream Philosophy.
The body in need of care is the subaltern of the neoliberal epistemic order: it is that which cannot be heard, and that which is muted, partially so even in care ethics. In order to read the writing by which the needy body writes the world, a new ethics must be articulated. Building on Jacques Derrida’s philosophy of deconstruction, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s notions of subalternity and epistemic violence, critical disability scholarship, and corporeal care theories, in this article I develop an ethics of needs. This is an ethical position that seeks to read the world that care needs write with the relations they enact. The ethics of needs deconstructs the world with a focus on those care needs that are presently responded to with neglect, indifference, or even violence: the absence of care. Specifically, the ethics of needs opens a space—a spacing, an aporia—for a more ethical politics of life than neoliberal biopolitics can ever provide, namely, the politics of life of needs.
ethics of care; corporeality; the body; biopolitics; deconstruction; ethics of needs