Gillian Rose, 'Looking at Landscape: the Uneasy Pleasures of Power' (1993)
Psychoanalytic theory has occupied an ambiguous position in the feminist quandary over whether the category of women has a rightful place within feminist political discourse. Psychoanalysis has sought to identify the developmental moments in which gendered identity is acquired. Yet, those feminist positions which take their departure from the work of Jacques Lacan have sought to underscore the unconscious as the tenuous ground of any and all claims to identity. A work that makes both arguments, Juliet Mitchell's Psycho-analysis and Feminism, sought not only to show that gender is constructed rather than biologically necessitated but to identify the precise developmental moments of that construction in the history of gendered subjects. Mitchell further argues on structuralist grounds that the narrative of infantile development enjoyed relative universality and that psychoanalytic theory seemed, therefore, to offer feminists a way to describe a psychological and cultural ground of shared gender identification.