A Theory of Social-Symbolic Practice
With An Introductory Essay by Teresa De Lauretis
Translation by Patricia Cicogna and Teresa De Lauretis
This book is about the need to make sense of, exalt, and represent in words and images the relationship of one woman to another. If putting a political practice into words is the same thing as theorizing, then this is a book of theory, because the relations between women are the subject matter of our politics and of this book. It is a book of theory, then, but interspersed with stories. We believe that to write theory is partly to tell about practice, since theoretical reasoning generally refers to things which already have names. Here we are dealing partly with things that had no names.
The events and ideas we talk about took place between 1966 and 1986, mainly in Milan. They generally go under the name of feminism. We would now like to bring to light their true meaning and therefore their name as well. That name is “genealogy.” In the years and places we mention, we saw a genealogy of women being charted; that is, women appeared who were legitimized by referring to their female origin.
Saying this is exciting, because the outcome is still uncertain. We are not certain that the history reconstructed in this book will really produce what we wanted, that is, to be inscribed in a female generation. We cannot be sure that, put to the test, our experience will prove to be only one of the many historical vicissitudes of the fragile concept of woman.
Link to the first chapter
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