Desires and Fears: Women, Class and Adorno

Theory and Event 11 (1) (2008)
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Abstract

Feminist thinkers have appropriated the central concepts of the early Frankfurt School thinker Theodor W. Adorno, such as his concept of the non-identical, and pointed at his problematic depictions of the feminine. However, despite the growing literature on the latter, there is so far no scholarship that shows how the feminine interacts with class in Adorno’s works. Working-class women appear in the Dialectic of Enlightenment and his later works in the three figurations of the phallic, castrating, and castrated woman. I draw on the theoretical framework of the French psychoanalytic thinker Jacques Lacan to grasp the deeper desires and fears that implicate Adorno in the very same instrumental rationality he aims to counter with his critical theory.

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Claudia Leeb
Washington State University

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