Reading the event of feminism as a trauma both to its societies and, as important, to its potential subject—feminists—this article mounts an argument against the iterated feminist memory of warring generations and succeeding waves. Citing Elizabeth Grosz on the constant need for new concepts that enable the heterogeneous actualization of feminism’s unharvested virtuality and Ewa Plonowska Ziarek’s rereading of suffragette thought as an aesthetic modernism articulating a radical right to revolt and to imagine an undefined feminist futurity, Pollock examines texts by Hannah Arendt, Anna Freud, and Bracha Ettinger to elucidate both de-Oedipalized and non-Oedipal modes of feminist transmission and the institutionalization of feminism. While displacing the familialization of feminism that acts out the daughter’s unrelieved “anxiety of influence” in a phallocentric culture structurally committed to mother-hating and mother-blaming, the article explores psychoanalytical foundations for the ethical questions of responsibility in the common but always historically differentiated struggle to incite and sustain the spaces of democratic subjectivities imagined beyond the paradigms of parents, children, and envious siblings.
Griselda Pollock; Is Feminism a Trauma, a Bad Memory, or a Virtual Future?. differences 1 September 2016; 27 (2): 27–61. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10407391-3621697
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