Bridging the social and the symbolic: Toward a feminist politics of sexual difference

Hypatia 15 (3):19-44 (2000)
Abstract
: By clarifying the psychoanalytic notion of sexual difference (and contrasting it with a feminist analysis of gender as social reality), I argue that the symbolic dimension of psychical life cannot be discarded in developing political accounts of identity formation and the status of women in the public sphere. I discuss various bridges between social reality and symbolic structure, bridges such as body, language, law, and family. I conclude that feminist attention must be redirected to the unconscious since the political cannot be localized in, or segregated to, the sphere of social reality; sexual difference is an indispensable concept for a feminist politics
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