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“I Am Not a Feminist, But…”: How Feminism Became the F-Word

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 October 2020

Extract

If PMIA invites us to reflect on the state of feminist theory today, it must be because there is a problem. Is feminist theory thought to be in trouble because feminism is languishing? Or because there is a problem with theory? Or—as it seems to me—both? Theory is a word usually used about work done in the poststructuralist tradition. (Luce Irigaray and Michel Foucault are “theory” Simone de Beauvoir and Ludwig Wittgenstein are not.) The poststructuralist paradigm is now exhausted. We are living through an era of “crisis,” as Thomas Kuhn would call it, an era in which the old is dying and the new has not yet been born (74–75). The fundamental assumptions of feminist theory in its various current guises (queer theory, postcolonial feminist theory, transnational feminist theory, psychoanalytic feminist theory, and so on) are still informed by some version of poststructuralism. No wonder, then, that so much feminist work today produces only tediously predictable lines of argument.

Type
Theories and Methodologies
Information
PMLA , Volume 121 , Issue 5 , October 2006 , pp. 1735 - 1741
Copyright
Copyright © Modern Language Association of America, 2006

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