Rethinking Change: Italian Feminism between Crisis and Critique of Politics

By Dominijanni, Ida | Cultural Studies Review, September 2005 | Go to article overview

Rethinking Change: Italian Feminism between Crisis and Critique of Politics


Dominijanni, Ida, Cultural Studies Review


-I

Rethinking radical Italian thought, displacing it in a context other than the Italian one, can help us to better discern its qualities, but also its limits. It should provoke us to ask ourselves questions about its reception and its exportability; to 'provincialise' it, as Brett Neilson writes in this issue of Cultural Studies Review. This can be achieved by identifying both its possibilities of contagion with other theories and practices, and its shortcomings in responding to questions and problems that are foreign to the Italian context. The displacement of our object of analysis should also involve a displacement of our own way of thinking as Italians. Speaking personally, I can't help asking myself about the subjective motivations and relations that took me to Australia and Sydney twice in one year. ' I think of the kinds of questions that I've heard female researchers and students ask of Italian feminism in Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland too. I think of a certain ease of dialogue between men and feminists that is less suspicious than what we're used to in Italy. There is an openness to the other and to otherness, which might derive from Australia being a multicultural society. The relativisation of Europe, and even more so of Italy, happens spontaneously when looked at from Australia with Asia in between. All this adds up to an 'Australian Effect' that has profoundly changed me and that in turn changes my way of talking about the 'Italian Effect'.

I am therefore writing from within a relationship to this context that already marks me, questions me and dislocates me, and my intention is to yield not so much a thought as a practice of thought, born and bred in close proximity to a political practice.

In his introduction to this section, Brett Neilson points out that what distinguishes radical Italian thought is not so much its theoretical corpus, which has developed in parallel with other contemporary international trends, but more its entrenchment in the political struggles that have characterised the 'Italian laboratory' for decades. This is even more the case for the thought of sexual difference, which was also born and developed in constant dialogue with other trends in international feminism, but which is also radically distinguished by its entrenchment in political and theoretical practice, indeed for the very notion of 'practice' that it adopts. In other words, the theory of sexual difference was not only born out of the political practices of feminism-such as self-awareness, the so-called 'practice of the unconscious', the practice of relations between women-but is in itself a theoretical practice.2 It is a style of thinking that is characterised by the method of beginning from oneself, by the metonymical relation between what we experience and what we say, and by a privileging of the reference to female genealogy rather than accredited and institutionalised traditions, disciplines and schools.3

This style of thinking means that there is neither a split between theory and experience, thinking and action, ends and means, nor between the enunciated and the subject of enunciation, the transformation of reality and of the self, as is usually the case in movements of transformation and revolutions. Rather there is a coming together in a virtual loop, which makes it possible to keep alive the original distinguishing feature of feminism as a movement of sexed subjectivity that cannot be reified into an objective 'female question' or crystallised into a female collective identity.

The movement of sexual difference can be understood as a theoretical, linguistic and political practice that works in context and that measures its results, gains, losses and displacements as a function of the transformation of this context. Precisely because of these defining traits, the thought of sexual difference refuses to lend itself to being summed up as a finished, abstract 'corpus', but exists as a thinking-in-progress. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Rethinking Change: Italian Feminism between Crisis and Critique of Politics
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.