Post-structural feminism

Kyriarchy Feminist literary criticism Feminist theory

Poststructural feminism is a branch of feminism that engages with insights from post-structuralist thought. Poststructural feminism emphasizes "the contingent and discursive nature of all identities",[1] and in particular the social construction of gendered subjectivities.[2] A contribution of this branch was to argue that there is no universal single category of "woman" or "man."[citation needed]

Areas of interest

Like post-structuralism itself, the feminist branch is in large part a tool for literary analysis, but it also deals in psychoanalysis and socio-cultural critique,[3] and seeks to explore relationships between language, sociology, subjectivity and power-relations as they impact upon gender in particular.[4]

Poststructural feminism also seeks to criticize the kyriarchy, while not being limited by narrow understandings of kyriarchal theory, particularly through an analysis of the pervasiveness of othering, the social exile of those people removed from the narrow concepts of normal.

Leading figures

Other significant figures in poststructuralist feminism include Monique Wittig, and Julia Kristeva.[8]

Literary examples


Poststructural feminism has been criticised for its abandonment of the humanistic female subject, and for tactical naivety in its rejection of any form of female essentialism.[11]

See also


  1. ^ Randall, Vicky (2010) 'Feminism' in Theory and Methods in Political Science. Marsh, David. Stoker, Gerry. (eds.), Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, p. 116.
  2. ^ P. Prasad, Crafting Qualitative Research (2005) p. 165.
  3. ^ J. Childers/G. Hentzi, The Columbia Dictionary of Modern Literary and Cultural Criticism (1995) p. 237
  4. ^ Prasad, p. 165
  5. ^ E. D. Ermath, Sequel to History (1992) p. 158
  6. ^ Judith Butler, Undoing Gender (2004) p. 206 and p. 8
  7. ^ G. Gutting ed., The Cambridge Companion to Foucault (2003) p. 390
  8. ^ Ermath, p. 151-2
  9. ^ David Lodge, Nice Work (1988) p. 210
  10. ^ A. S. Byatt, Possession: A Romance (1990) p. 254 and p. 222
  11. ^ Alcoff, Linda (1988). "Cultural Feminism versus Post-Structuralism: The Identity Crisis in Feminist Theory". Signs. 13 (3): 405–436. doi:10.1086/494426. ISSN 0097-9740. JSTOR 3174166.