INTRODUCTION

This chapter investigates the intersection of psychoanalytic theory and semiology with feminist theory and considers the implications for postfeminist debates. There are two spheres where these debates have made an impact. The first is the impact of psychoanalytic theory and semiology within the French intellectual tradition, particularly as a result of feminism’s engagement with the work of Jacques Derrida and Jacques Lacan. Debates in the area of feminism, sexuality and textuality have been explored and ‘dramatised’ in the work of the French feminist deconstructivists—Luce Irigaray, Julia Kristeva and Helene Cixous—in their dialogue with the work of Derrida and Lacan. The second major area of impact is in the area of film and media theory, in particular the intersection of debates in the area of psychoanalytic theory and semiology with feminist theoretical debates as applied to these areas. The work of E. Ann Kaplan and Teresa de Lauretis has made powerful contributions to this area and will be explored in this chapter.