Materialist Feminism and the Politics of Discourse confronts the impasses in materialist feminist work on rethinking ‘woman’ as a discursively constructed subject. The book looks at the problem of examining critically the social dimensions on which theories of discourse are premised: how such theories understand ‘materiality’; the relation between ‘women’s experience’ and feminist politics, and that between history and discourse. Rosemary Hennessy considers the work of Kristeva, Foucault, Laclau and Mouffe, and argues for a materialist feminist re-articulation of discourse as ideology. Concerns over identity and difference are incorporated into a rewriting of materialist feminism's analysis of women's oppression across capitalist and patriarchal structures. In adapting postmodernist theories in this way, Hennessy develops a project of social change, where feminism, while maintaining its specificity, is necessarily aligned with other emancipatory movements.
Acknowledgments. Introduction. 1. Materialist Feminism in the Postmodern Academy: Toward a Global Social Analytic 2. The Materiality of Discourse: Feminism and Post-Marxism 3. The Feminist Standpoint, Discourse and Authority: From Women’s Lives to Ideology Critique 4. New Woman, New History. Notes. Bibliography. Index.