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Athens in ParisAncient Greece and the Political in Post-War French Thought$
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Miriam Leonard

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199277254

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199277254.001.0001

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Oedipus and the Political Subject

Oedipus and the Political Subject

Chapter:
(p.22) 1 Oedipus and the Political Subject
Source:
Athens in Paris
Author(s):

Miriam Leonard (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199277254.003.0002

This chapter focuses on how the figure of Oedipus came to be at the centre of a debate about the role of the political subject in structuralist thought. At the centre of this section is an examination of Jean-Pierre Vernant's dialogue with the structural anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss and his famous interpretation of the Oedipus myth. In stark contrast to the Lévi-Straussian version, Vernant's reading of Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus makes the context of Athenian democracy absolutely central to its analysis, and thus poses a challenge to the ahistorical and apolitical vision of Lévi-Strauss. The second half of this chapter turns to Michel Foucault and his debate with Vernant's political interpretation of the Oedipus. Foucault's Oedipus is not only profoundly influenced by Vernant, but also sheds new light on Vernant's anti-psychoanalytic readings by reinterpreting them through the prism of May '68 and the publication of Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-Oedipus.

Keywords:   subject, democracy, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Jean-Pierre Vernant, Michel Foucault, psychoanalysis, Deleuze, Guattari

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