ABSTRACT

WE SHALL NOW consider the work of French psychoanalysts Jacques Lacan, Luce Irigaray and Julie Kristeva in order to evaluate their contributions to the understanding of lesbianism. As with other psychoanalytic texts we examine, we shall also show how their general theory of psychic development generates their theorising of lesbianism. Lacan's work has been greeted favourably by many feminist writers, who see it as providing guidelines for a comprehensive analysis of patriarchy in that it allows for an analysis of the constructions of psychic identities within social and cultural contexts. Francois Roustang, a contemporary French analyst, highlights Lacan's attraction for feminists:

The Lacanian psychoanalyst does riot try to reintegrate the analysand into the society as it is. He sees this society as based on the misapprehension of the subject's desire, and believes it exists only through the repression of desire . . . 1

However, Lacan also stresses that the alienation of desire can occur by revolution as much as by adaptation.