POSTMODERNISM, FEMINISM AND REPRESENTATION
The debate around the contextualisation of postmodernism and post-colonialism brings political and aesthetic dimensions together, particularly around the issue of representation. Craig Owens (1983) regards postmodernism as a crisis in Western representation, both in its authority and universal claims; a crisis that Owens states had already been Voiced’ by hitherto marginal or repressed discourses, feminism being the most significant of the discourses. Owens contends that feminism as ‘a radical critique of the master narratives of modern man.. .is a political and an epistemological event-political in that it challenges the order of patriarchal society, epistemological in that it questions the structure of its representations.’ (Foster 1983:xiii). He argues that postmodernism challenges the ‘authorization’ of these representations, exposing ‘the system of power that authorizes certain representations while blocking, prohibiting or invalidating others’ (Owens 1983:59). Women are among those whose representations are denied legitimacy. Michele Montrelay considers whether, in the sense of producing symbolic representation, psychoanalysis was not articulated precisely in order to repress femininity’.2 Debates around the issue of representation as raised by postmodernism have been problematic for feminism as it assesses its future direction, located at the juncture of modernism and postmodernism.