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Telling feminist stories

By Clare Hemmings

Abstract

This article identifies and analyses the dominant stories that academics tell about the development of Western second wave feminist theory. Through an examination of recent production of interdisciplinary feminist and cultural theory journals, I suggest that despite a rhetorical insistence on multiple feminisms, Western feminist trajectories emerge as startlingly singular. In particular, I am critical of an insistent narrative that sees the development of feminist thought as a relentless march of progress or loss. This dominant approach oversimplifies the complex history of Western feminisms, fixes writers and perspectives within a particular decade, and repeatedly (and erroneously) positions poststructuralist feminists as ‘the first’ to challenge the category ‘woman’ as the subject and object of feminist knowledge. Rather than provide a corrective history of Western feminist theory, the article interrogates the techniques through which this dominant story is secured, despite the fact that we (feminist theorists) know better. My focus, therefore, is on citation patterns, discursive framings and some of their textual, theoretical and political effects. As an alternative, I suggest a realignment of key theorists purported to provide a critical break in feminist theory with their feminist citational traces, to force a concomitant re-imagining of our historical legacy and our place within it

Topics: HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Year: 2005
DOI identifier: 10.1177/1464700105053690
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.lse.ac.uk:2811
Provided by: LSE Research Online
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