The Gendered Scene of Theory

  • Susan Melrose
Part of the New Directions in Theatre book series (NDT)


Wilden (1980, p. 503) notes of Lacan’s discourse that “[f]or women … the ‘oedipal relation’ stands as the Imaginary representation of a life-long disaster”. Similarly, in Threadgold et al.’s way of seeing Lacan:

[f]inally, [this] is a theory which is inescapably phallocentric, since the mechanism, in Lacan, which enables entry into the symbolic is dependent on the resolution of the castration complex. The differences and distinctions which make the subject’s access to language and representation possible are founded on a marking of sexual difference, conceived on the primacy of one sex over the other. It is hard to see how, in these terms, if “the Law of the Father” is “the Law of the Culture” in general, patriarchy is not woman’s inescapable and irrevocable destiny. This would make the concept of ideological struggle impossible, since it would involve struggle against the very conditions in which language itself is constituted. The subject is always, by definition, “inside” patriarchal language/ideology.

(Threadgold et al., 1986, p. 21)


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© S. F. Melrose 1994

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  • Susan Melrose

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