Strategically speaking: The problem of essentializing terms in feminist theory and feminist organizational talk [Book Review]

Human Studies 21 (3):235-257 (1998)
This paper examines the discursive construction of collective identity in several feminist organizations, as a way of shedding new light on the debate over essentializing or totalizing terms in contemporary feminist/postmodernist theory. We argue that while this debate is about language, it has remained largely untouched by the insights of a discursive approach. The latter as we take it up here treats language as irremediably strategic or interested. In contrast, the feminist argument over essentializing terms appears to hold to a correspondence version of language, a position which limits the debate in fatal ways. Part 1 reviews the argument that terms such as women, feminist and feminist identity are essentializing discourses which dominate by silencing difference. Part 2 then considers the way one such concept – feminist identity – is actually constructed and used in the routine talk of members of feminist organizations. In Part 3 we draw out the implications of a discursive approach to such terms for the feminist/postmodernist debate.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Modern Philosophy   Philosophy of the Social Sciences   Political Philosophy   Sociolinguistics
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 13,029
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

11 ( #154,703 of 1,410,463 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #177,872 of 1,410,463 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.