Feminism and Lacanian Psychoanalysis

Campbell, Kirsten. 2015. Feminism and Lacanian Psychoanalysis. In: Samo Tomšič and Andreja Zevnik, eds. Jacques Lacan: Between Psychoanalysis and Politics. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 234-253. ISBN 978-0-415-72433-3 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

This chapter examines the political encounters between feminism movements and Lacanian psychoanalysis. It argues that fourth wave feminisms might usefully reengage with Lacan’s work in the current political conjuncture. It begins this analysis by examining the first encounter of the feminist movement and Lacanian psychoanalysis in the 1970s. This encounter takes place in the context of second wave feminist analyses of the politics of gender. This encounter was both highly contentious, and also highly productive. The second wave developed an important strategy of productive appropriations of Lacan’s work. This strategy identifies the political problematic that frames these readings of Lacan, as well as engaging with the specificity and precision of psychoanalytic concepts. Building on this second wave strategy of reading Lacan, the chapter then identifies sexual difference and the new sexual contract as the problematic confronting fourth wave politics. It argues that this problematic frames the potential political encounter between this feminist generation and Lacanian psychoanalysis. This encounter can be elaborated in a feminist account of fraternal and feminist social links, which draws on the later Lacanian theory of sexuation and the social bond of discourse. This fourth wave appropriation of Lacanian psychoanalysis can offer an important strategy for understanding not only the psychic life of power that makes social change so difficult, but also for identifying transformative possibilities for fourth wave feminist politics.

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Book Section


Feminisms, Lacanian Psychoanalysis

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1 August 2015Published

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Date Deposited:

18 Aug 2015 13:30

Last Modified:

09 Jun 2021 22:44



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