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Sexual identity, identification and difference: A psychoanalytic contribution to discourse theory

Glynos, J (2000) 'Sexual identity, identification and difference: A psychoanalytic contribution to discourse theory.' Philosophy & Social Criticism, 26 (6). 85 - 108. ISSN 0191-4537

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Abstract

This essay focuses on an issue arising from within an anti-essentialist perspective on sexual identity: how is it possible to explain the political impetus inhering in a category such as ‘woman’ without having recourse to a set of positive properties that would somehow fix her identity in advance? I examine how a particular theoretical outlook, social post-modernism, attempts to address this issue, and argue that, ultimately, social postmodernism generates its own impasse which I call social foundationalism – an impasse which is structurally similar to biological foundationalism. I invoke discourse-theoretic concepts to introduce the psychoanalytic categories of master signifier and symbolic identification. This is done in order to suggest how Lacanian psychoanalysis permits us to theorize sexual difference in a way that avoids both biological foundationalism and social foundationalism. © 2000, SAGE Publications. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
J Political Science > JC Political theory
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0500 Psychoanalysis
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Peter Josse
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2015 14:21
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2017 11:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/10163

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