• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

The central argument of this book is that the sex//gender distinction is invalid and must be transcended. To this end, the work of Foucault, Connell, Goffman, Garfinkel, Butler, Freud, Derrida, Saussure, Lacquer and Kessler and McKenna is woven into a rich and compelling set of arguments. The sex//gender distinction is attacked for producing a series of irresolvable traps. However much one tries to think one's way out of the dichotomy, one ends up being suckered back into its imponderables and blind alleys. The book attempts to comprehensively reorientate the field and redefine the terrain.

A Melancholy Gender
A melancholy gender

Judith Butler's work could be read as representing the integration of the different theoretical approaches we have been exploring in the last three chapters, for it combines, amongst other things, elements of a Foucauldian approach to power and discourse, the idea of gender as something achieved through its performance and a depth psychology derived from Freud and Lacanian and post-Lacanian psychoanalysis. One might therefore be forgiven for thinking that it would constitute the ideal confluence of strands of theorizing which we have – at least in some measure – endorsed. However, as Paul Hirst and Penny Woolley (1982) pointed out in Social Relations and Human Attributes, not only can bringing theoretical approaches together be an endeavour fraught with problems, but ...

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