On ethics and feminism Reflecting on Levinas’ ethics of non-(in)difference

Bell, Vikki. 2001. On ethics and feminism Reflecting on Levinas’ ethics of non-(in)difference. Feminist Theory, 2(2), pp. 159-171. ISSN 1464-7001 [Article]

No full text available

Abstract or Description

In this article I argue that, if one is persuaded by the arguments of Emmanuel Levinas, the pursuit of something called ‘ethical feminism’ is rendered difficult, for, according to Levinas, there is a hiatus between ethics and politics in so far as politics does not flow from ethics. Indeed, politics obliges one to engage in the non-ethical, so that the ethical cannot be understood as a basis for feminist politics. I contend that one can argue that it is in the way that the dangers of the non-ethical are handled that politics begins. If this is so, one can refigure the question of ethics within feminism. Ethics becomes a check on freedom and politics rather than its originary source. However, I argue, along with Michel Foucault and William Connolly, that ethical responses, while coming from the other, have also to be subjected to genealogical critique, so that their conditions of possibility are not naturalized.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Departments, Centres and Research Units:




Item ID:


Date Deposited:

21 Sep 2015 14:30

Last Modified:

04 Jul 2017 14:14

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



Edit Record Edit Record (login required)