Transgressive Corporeality

The Body, Poststructuralism and the Theological Imagination

By Diane MacDonald

Subjects: Body, The
Paperback : 9780791424889, 170 pages, July 1995
Hardcover : 9780791424872, 170 pages, July 1995

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Table of contents



1. Toward a Body of Un-Author-ized Transgression

2. From Body as Phenomenal Field to Flesh as Field of Being

3. Bound to the Back of a Tiger: Body as Site of Power/Knowledge Practices

4. On the Threshold of Madness: Speaking and Writing the Mother's Body

5. Transgressive Corporeality as the Imaginary of Theology

Selected Bibliography


This book examines embodiment and poststructuralism as they pertain to theological method.


This study begins with Nietzsche's attempt to subvert the projects of classical and modern metaphysics through an unmasking of their abusive underpinnings. Because Nietzsche ultimately retreated into his own violent metaphysics of a "will-to-power" his critique has been radicalized by other philosophers who explore the "body" as a site of resistance to foundationalist metaphysics and for clues pointing toward nonfoundational modes of thinking and becoming.

The philosophies of "body" explored in this book are those of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Michel Foucault, and Julia Kristeva. In their respective analyses, oppressive modes of the "will-to-truth" include the "objectifying thought" of Enlightenment empiricism and idealism; classical and modern modes of rationality, discipline, and sexuality; as well as a "mono-logical" thinking operative in literature and religion. Each theorist attempts to retrieve "remainders" of these cultural truths as sites of resistance and of alternative modes of relatedness.

The book concludes by suggesting how these philosophies of "body" might reshape the "imagination" of contemporary constructive theology.

Diane L. Prosser MacDonald is Associate Minister of First Plymouth Congregational Church in Englewood, Colorado and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Theology at the Iliff School of Theology.


"This is a fine and scholarly text on topics of contemporary interest. The author succeeds in opening new space for theology to begin to re-figure and re-form itself. " -- Sue L. Cataldi, Moorhead State University