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Camilla Pitton

Philosophy, University of Warwick

Thesis title:

Beyond Neoliberal Feminism: Reconsidering Empowerment, Self-Determination and the Limitations of Subjectivity

Patriarchy appears to be far reaching and totalising and feminists have struggled, and continue to struggle, with questions concerning its genesis, its seemingly trans-cultural status, and the idea that might have been unavoidable. Why have we almost universally divided the population into two halves on the basis of some morphological differences and reproductive capacities and decided that one of those halves is worth less than the other? Is this binary division—and the oppression it has historically engendered—necessary, and should we seek to escape only its effects or, more generally, this form of differentiation?

Drawing on this quotidian, but not trivial, line of inquiry, this thesis focuses on the status of sexual difference and philosophical intervention. Specifically, I reformulate the worry concerning the pervasiveness of patriarchy into a philosophical problematic by qualifying the patriarchal acceptation of sexual difference (which belittles the feminine as one of its terms) as a central organising principle of western thought. Accordingly, I interrogate the possibility of transcending sexual difference when its pervasiveness and centrality in thought, subjectivity, and philosophical methodology are taken into account. Insofar as this remains a philosophical investigation, its resolution also warrants articulating how philosophy itself can become non-patriarchal: how philosophy, in other words, can separate itself from the moves and structures that are here argued to revolve around sexual difference. Finally, a question concerning difference itself complements this investigation: if difference is always sexual, and as such grounded on oppositional duality and dissymmetry, can we find a language to transform difference itself and render it less pejorative?

In addressing these research questions, I develop the concept of the feminine as philosophical technology by drawing, primarily, on the work of feminist philsopher Luce Irigaray.

Research Area

  • Philosophy


Batho, David, Pitton Camilla. 2018. "What is Moral Distress? Experiences and Responses Green Paper." The Ethics of Powerlessness. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.25797.76003. URL: https://powerlessness.essex.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/MoralDistressGreenPaper1.pdf


2022: ‘Re-examining Irigaray’s philosophy of nature: objections to the ‘duality’ interpretation’, at the “Society for European Philosophy Conference”, Newcastle University.

2022: ‘The mimetic negative: negative determination and metaphilosophical plurality’, at “The London Conference of Critical Thought”, London.

2022: ‘Reconfiguring feminine negativity: from repression to affirmative production’, at the “Unlearning Nihilism” conference, New Centre for Research and Practice and Royal Holloway University of London.

2022: ‘Mimesis as a feminist technology: from Irigaray’s copying woman to simulation’, at “The Mimetic Turn: Final International Conference on Homo Mimeticus”, KU Leuven.

2021: 'The (lost) Futures of Techno-Feminism’, at “The Futures of Feminism” workshop, Tilburg University.

Public Engagement & Impact

2022: Organiser of the “Posthuman Bodies and Embodied Posthumanisms” conference, University of Warwick and Nottingham Trent University.

2022: Organiser of the conference “Continental Philosophy and Global Challenges: Historical perspectives through practical engagements”, University of Warwick.

2021: Organiser of the conference “Continental Philosophy and its Histories”, University of Warwick.

2019: Organiser of the conference “What is Philosophy? Past, Present and Future”, University of Warwick.

Research roles

2017-2018    Research assistant for The Ethics of Powerlessness project at the University of Essex .

2017             Research assistant for The Essex Autonomy Project at the University of Essex.