In the 1970s women's studies tended to focus on the social aspects of gender, looking at social and familial influences on upbringing and identity. Lacanian psychoanalysis contributed to this work the crucial link of subjectivity to the unconscious and to language, as well as an understanding of sexual difference as constituted at an unconscious level. Finally, in the area of social theory and international relations figures such as the Slovenian Lacanian philosopher Slavoj Žižek had a tremendous impact on our appreciation of the unconscious processes and fantasies underlying social and national conflicts as well as racism, sexism and homophobia. I will return to and explain all of these terms and issues in the subsequent chapters, focusing in particular on the ways in which Lacanian ideas have been applied in the field of literary and cultural studies.
FEMINIST THEORY- An examination of women’s positions in society, based on the belief that current positions are unequal and unjust, which also provides tactics and criteria for change. “Feminist theory - of all kinds - is to be based on, or anyway touch base with, the variety of real life stories women provide about themselves.” (Lugones and Spelman, “Have We Got a Theory for You!”)
“...But if say, an empirical theory is purported to be about ‘women’ and in fact is only about certain women, it is certainly false, probably ethnocentric, and of dubious usefulness except to those whose position in the world it strengthens (and theories, as we know, don’t have to be true in order to be used to strengthen people’s positions in the world).” (Lugones and Spelman, “Have We Got a Theory for You!”)
“If we really want theory to make a difference in people’s lives, how ought we to present it? Do we think people come to consciousness by reading? Only by reading? Again, whom does our theory making serve?” (Lugones and Spelman, “Have We Got a Theory for You!”)