Bulgarian. Central figure in French intellectual life. Her main contribution to contemporary theory has been the elucidation of the process by which pre-verbal experience enters into language and activates cultural production.
Revolution in Poetic Language: The Semiotic and the Symbolic
Interested in the relationship of subjectivity to language; in how the speaking subject is both constituted through and threatened by the logic of signification. (like Derrida and Barthes). Insistence on the corporeal origins of the subjectivity and of artistic practice. Kristeva has emphasized the importance of pre-linguistic, instinctual and sensory components. She combines Bakhtin’s concept of dialogism (the idea that a text contains language from more than one world) with Saussure’s anagrams in poetry into a general theory of intertextuality. There are two forces competing for expression in the language of poetry: the symbolic and the semiotic. The symbolic is the aspect that allows to refer (not a collection of symbols), tied to social order. The semiotic (associated with the chora or womb, the woman, the maternal body) dimension of language is the music of poetry. Chora (womb) essentially mobile and provisional articulation constituted by movements and stases. Every signification entails the dialectical interaction of the symbolic and the semiotic. She tries to capture the trace of what in a subject brings a text into being, not just what the text signifies. The eruption of the semiotic within the symbolic provides the creativity of modern language. She describes the subject as a sujet-en-procès; which in English can be a subject in process or a subject on trial. The subject mustn’t be in stasis. The semiotic dimension frees the subject from stasis and allows creation. The speaking subject’s investment in language is neither transcendental nor entirely conscious.
According to psycholinguists, concrete operations precede the acquisition of language and organize pre-verbal semiotic space according to logical categories which are to precede language. This pre-verbal state is the one that governs the connections between the body, the objects and the family structure. Close to Piaget’s idea that the acquisition of thought is due to the symbolic function (a notion for him separate from that of language). The functional stage of the semiotic precedes the establishing of the sign. Genetic programming is necessarily semiotic.
The thetic: a break in the signifying process which produces the positing (planteamiento) of signification. All enunciations whether of a word or of a sentence is thetic. The thetic is a phase that establishes signification. The signifying process includes the genotext and the phenotext.
· The genotext includes semiotic processes and symbolic, not linguistic. It’s a process that tends to articulate structures that are non-signifying. It has no double articulation. It’s language underlying foundation. It’s irreducible.
· The phenotext Language that serves to communicate. A structure, obeys rules and presupposes a subject and an addressee.
Kristeva’s ideal would be the demolition of “woman” as an identifiable social category, in this sense she could be considered a post-feminist. Feminism depends on the differences between men and women considered as an opposition, that’s why she has resisted being considered a feminist. She tends to view institutionalized forms of feminism as totalizing, even totalitarian, forms of cultural discourse. She wonders if feminism is not becoming a religion and she is highly critical of any feminist politics based on universalist or essentialist notions of feminity.

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CASHMORE, ELLIS. Ed. Dictionary of Race and Ethnic Relations. London: Routledge, 1996.