“The Daughters of Metis: Patriarchal Dominion and the Politics of the Between.” The Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal, 28, 2 (2007).
By attending closely to three ancient stories concerned with the origin and effect of patriarchal dominion, this essay seeks at once to discern the tragic dialectic according to which patriarchal authority operates and to open new possibilities for politics beyond the logic of domination and force. The stories of Zeus’s consumption of Métis in the Theogony, of Agamemnon’s sacrifice of Iphigeneia in the Agamemnon and of Athena’s attempt to establish a just human community in the Eumenides articulate something of the logic of force that underlies and undermines patriarchal dominion at its very origins.
These stories also, however, suggest another possibility for politics insofar as they give voice to the transformative political intelligence known to the Greeks as metis. This habit of thinking is dynamic and open in such a way that it can actualize what Hannah Arendt has designated as genuine political power: the ability to bring words and deeds together to cultivate relations and create new realities. The power of metis, it is suggested, is a habit of thinking capable of weaving difference into community with an eye toward justice.
This essay turns to these ancient stories in order to draw out the possibilities metis holds for a new politics in the face of the chronic, pathological failures of the logic of force that has historically animated patriarchal politics.
The Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal has generously allowed me to make the full text of this article available in .pdf format: