Biography (World Philosophers and Their Works)
Article abstract: By reexamining many of the major texts of Western philosophy, Irigaray has attempted to articulate the ways in which language, particularly the language of psychoanalysis, limits women.
Little is known of Luce Irigaray’s early life. She was born in Belgium and spent her childhood there. In 1955, she received a master’s degree in philosophy and literature from the University of Lovain, completing a thesis on the writer Paul Velery. In 1956, she became a secondary schoolteacher in Brussels, Belgium, a post she retained until 1959.
In 1959, Irigaray moved to Paris and began studying for what was to be the first of many advanced degrees she was to receive in France. In 1961, she received a master’s degree in psychology from the University of Paris, and in 1962, she was awarded a diploma in psychopathology from the Institut de Psychologie de Paris. Also in 1962, she accepted a position at the Fondation Nationale de Recherche Scientifique in Belgium, where she remained until 1964, when she returned to Paris as an assistant researcher at the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique. She remained attached to this organization and was named its director of research in 1986. Upon her return to Paris, she began work on more advanced degrees. In 1968, she completed a doctoral degree in linguistics at the University of Paris X at Nanterre.
(The entire section is 1169 words.)
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Biography (Cyclopedia of World Authors, Fourth Revised Edition)
Luce Irigaray (ee-ree-gah-ray), a Parisian psychoanalyst, was a founding member of the earliest French feminist group, called Politique et Psychanalyse (Psych et Po), established in 1968. She was born and grew up in Belgium and taught high school in Brussels until 1959, when she moved to Paris to continue a university career. For fifteen years she worked on degrees in philosophy, linguistics, and psychoanalysis, later becoming director of research at the prestigious Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS). From 1970 to 1974 she taught at the University of Paris VIII, but she was dismissed because of the controversial nature of her doctoral dissertation, which took issue with Freudian theories in vogue at the time.
Irigaray became active in the women’s liberation movement of the 1970’s in France and fought for the legalization of contraceptives and abortion. She traveled widely, speaking at conferences in Europe, the United States, and Canada in support of women’s rights. She has taught in universities in Holland, Italy, and Canada. In her writing, Irigaray, along with fellow psychoanalyst Julia Kristeva, has insisted that women cannot be described or identified, and cannot attain equality, without a complete break with the “phallocentric” or patriarchal discourse that has dominated Western thought. Insisting on the importance of such a written revolution, she and other members of Psych et Po founded the influential Paris publishing...
(The entire section is 718 words.)