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15 Cards in this Set

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To be distinguished from straightforward sexual desire, Desire in the Lacanian scheme of things is a longing to return to a state of non-differentiation, of completeness. Once a subject has entered the Symbolic system, there is a schism between self and self-representation.This split is experienced as Desire for what is lacking (the phallus).

écriture féminine

A radical writing practice, the aim of which is to inscribe femininity. The feminine is excluded or repressed within the patriarchal, Symbolic order, andécriture féminine argues that existing linguistic structures are not sufficient for articulating the feminine: some new form of language has to be developed.


Biological determinism; the denial of historical and cultural shifts in the human subject; the attribution of certain traits as unchangingly human, female


The biological basis of womanhood, argued as the grounds on which oppression of women, and the fight against this oppression, is based.


The cultural attributes of womanhood, as opposed to the biological, and which changes according to history and to cultural identity.


A woman-centred critical practice which privileges women’s criticisms of woman-authored texts


belief that language can be authentic, fully representative and capable of producing fixed or certain meaning.


The culturally acquired attributes of the male, assumed by Freud as the norm against which feminine development has been judged wanting


A new word.


Defined by materialist feminists as social and political domination by men, and by psychoanalytic feminists as the psychological, ideological primacy of the masculine over systems of representation.


The ordering of Symbolic systems of difference around sexuality, where difference is determined according to possession or lack of the privileged signifier of the phallus. The term is mostly used in association with Lacanian discourse, and with the écriture féminine.


a system which privileges the phallus as both the mainmarker of sexual difference and as the guarantor of truth and meaning in language


indicates the pre-symbolic state of the infant, before its mind and body are regulated by language and the Symbolic order. The semiotic is the location of the feminine, after the subject has become integrated into the masculine order.


The order of language and representation. It is the order into which the subject must become integrated to gain recognition of its self, and to be recognised by others. It is also the order which depends on repression of disruptive forces. Feminists argue that the Symbolic order is a patriarchal one which needs to be transformed to accommodate feminine aspects.


A generalised woman, used by Jacques Lacan and the French Feminists to talk about the condition in which all women are placed and the way in which they are (inaccurately) represented by male-centred discourse. The term has been criticised as being essentialist, fixed and ahistorical.