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date: 01 December 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter looks at Hegel’s impact on twentieth-century French philosophy by focusing on Kojève’s influential interpretation of Hegel, which enabled Beauvoir and Fanon to adapt Hegel’s philosophy to theorize gender and racial inequalities. Kojève took the struggle for recognition and the master/slave dialectic to be the central elements of Hegel’s thought. On this basis, Beauvoir and Fanon came to understand gender and racial oppression in terms of distortions in human relations of recognition. They argue that women (for Beauvoir) and black people (for Fanon) have been excluded from full participation in the struggle for recognition. However, these existential-Hegelian views are sometimes thought to have been superseded by the anti-Hegelianism of post-1960s French post-structuralism. Against this position, the chapter explains how the post-structuralist ‘French feminist’ Irigaray takes up and transforms Hegel’s notion of mutual recognition, to recommend that differently sexed individuals accept and recognize one another in their irreducible difference.

Keywords: Hegel, Kojève, Beauvoir, Fanon, Irigaray, gender, race

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