What Do Women Want? Feminist Epistemology and Psychoanalysis

Campbell, Kirsten. 2014. What Do Women Want? Feminist Epistemology and Psychoanalysis. In: Mary Evans; Clare Hemmings; Marsha Henry; Hazel Johnstone; Sumi Madhok; Ania Plomien and Sadie Wearing, eds. The SAGE Handbook of Feminist Theory. Los Angeles/London: Sage, pp. 93-113. ISBN 9781446252413 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

This chapter explores how ‘what women want’ is still a key political question for third wave feminisms. It asks how an engagement with feminist theories of knowledge and psychoanalytic theories of subjectivity might offer new approaches to this political problem. It begins by examining how contemporary feminist thought still confronts ‘femininity’ and its discontents. It then explores how feminist theories of knowledge have built different frameworks to consider new answers to this question. In this field of feminist research, which is known as ‘feminist epistemology’, the politics of
subjectivity intersect with the politics of knowledge. The chapter examines key positions within this field and identifies how knowing and identity remain central problems for feminist epistemologies. The chapter then examines why feminists have worked with (and against) psychoanalysis in their attempt to address this problem.
Finally, the chapter sets out a post-Lacanian feminist epistemology which makes the problem of knowing and being central to feminist knowledges. It shows how this approach can provide the conceptual building blocks for ‘third wave feminist
epistemologies’ (Campbell, 2004b) that offer new ways of thinking through feminist politics of sexuality, subjectivity and knowledge

Item Type:

Book Section


Feminism, Feminist epistemology, psychoanalytic theory,

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August 2014Published

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Date Deposited:

19 Aug 2014 07:41

Last Modified:

10 Jun 2021 06:55



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