chapter  2
34 Pages

Lacanian epistemologies

Should feminists know better than to read Lacan?

In the 1970s, the feminists of the Anglo-American second wave began to warn women of the dangers of psychoanalysis. Betty Friedan, Germaine Greer and Kate Millett argued that psychoanalysis is a patriarchal institution because of its phallocentric prescription of normative femininity. By contrast, secondwave ‘French’ feminists such as Julia Kristeva and Luce Irigaray argued that psychoanalysis is a potential feminist ally, because of its account of the psychic register of sexual oppression and liberation.1 In his contemporaneous seminar, Lacan warns these women not to confuse his revolutionary psychoanalysis with the political and sexual revolution that they hope for (S17: 63).