Strategically speaking: The problem of essentializing terms in feminist theory and feminist organizational talk [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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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|
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References found in this work BETA
L. Alcoff (1988). Cultural Feminism Versus Post-Structuralism: The Identity Crisis in Feminist Theory. Signs 13 (3):405--436.
Alan Blum (1984). Self-Reflection in the Arts and Sciences. Humanities Press.
Jane Flax (1992). The End of Innocence. In Judith Butler & Joan Wallach Scott (eds.), Feminists Theorize the Political. Routledge 445--63.
Vicki Schultz (1992). Women" Before" the Law: Judicial Stories About Women, Work, and Sex Segregation on the Job. In Judith Butler & Joan Wallach Scott (eds.), Feminists Theorize the Political. Routledge 297--338.
R. Coles (1991). Foucault's Dialogical Artistic Ethos. Theory, Culture and Society 8 (2):99-120.
Citations of this work BETA
Wing-Chung Ho (2008). The Transcendence and Non-Discursivity of the Lifeworld. Human Studies 31 (3):323 - 342.
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