Jacques Lacan and Feminist Epistemology

Jacques Lacan and Feminist Epistemology

Jacques Lacan and Feminist Epistemology

Jacques Lacan and Feminist Epistemology


This book outlines a compelling new agenda for feminist theories of identity and social relations. Using Lacanian psychoanalysis with feminist epistemology, the author sets out a groundbreaking psychoanalytic social theory. Campbell's work offers answers to the important contemporary question of how feminism can change the formation of gendered subjectivities and social relations. Drawing on the work of third wave feminists, the book shows how feminism can provide new political models of knowing and disrupt foundational ideas of sexual identity. Kirsten Campbell engages the reader with an original intepretation of Lacanian psychoanalysis and offers a compelling argument for a fresh commitment to the politics of feminism. Jacques Lacan and Feminist Epistemology will be essential reading for anyone with interests in gender studies, cultural studies, psychoanalytic studies or social and political theory.


Yesterday, 'feminist epistemology' was an oxymoron; today, it has name recognition, but its referent is not yet clear.

(Alcoff and Potter 1993a: 1)

What is 'feminist epistemology'? When the second-wave theorists first began to use the term 'feminist epistemology', it did not refer to a recognizable body of work. Rather the term referred to a set of theoretical and political problems concerning accounts of knowledge. These problems focused upon whether there are 'distinctive feminist perspectives on epistemology, metaphysics, methodology and philosophy of science' (Harding and Hintikka 1983a: ix). in the 1980s, a number of works appeared which began explicitly to take up these issues, such as Rose (1983), Jagger (1983) and the anthology Discovering Reality (Harding and Hintikka 1983b). Contributors to this anthology included Sandra Harding, Kathryn Pyne Addelson, Evelyn Fox Keller, Naomi Scheman, Nancy Hartsock and Jane Flax, all of whom have since become significant theorists in the area. the mid-1980s saw the publication of influential key texts which were to shape the contemporary field, including Haraway's 'A Manifesto for Cyborgs' (1985), Harding's The Science Question in Feminism ([1986] (1991)) and Dorothy Smith's The Everyday World as Problematic (1987).

In the early 1990s, 'feminist epistemology' became a recognizable term that named a distinctive area of research and an emerging body of work, which included theorists such as Lorraine Code (1991), Patricia Hill Collins (1991), Jane Duran (1991), Harding (1991), Susan Hekman (1990), Helen Longino (1990) and Liz Stanley (1990). During this period, several influential anthologies on the theme of feminism and knowledge were also published, such as Gender/Body/Knowledge (Bordo and Jagger 1989), Feminist Knowledge (Gunew 1990), Feminist Epistemologies (Alcoff and Potter 1993b), and Knowing the Difference: Feminist Perspectives in Epistemology (Lennon and Whitford 1994b). By the mid-1990s, the sociological and philosophical

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