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Bridging the Social and the Symbolic: Toward a Feminist Politics of Sexual Difference

Emily Zakin
Hypatia
Vol. 15, No. 3 (Summer, 2000), pp. 19-44
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Hypatia, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3810523
Page Count: 26
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Bridging the Social and the Symbolic: Toward a Feminist Politics of Sexual Difference
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Abstract

By clarifying the psychoanalytic notion of sexual difference (and contrasting it with a feminist analysis of gender as social reality), I argue that the symbolic dimension of psychical life cannot be discarded in developing political accounts of identity formation and the status of women in the public sphere. I discuss various bridges between social reality and symbolic structure, bridges such as body, language, law, and family. I conclude that feminist attention must be redirected to the unconscious since the political cannot be localized in, or segregated to, the sphere of social reality; sexual difference is an indispensable concept for a feminist politics.

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