Xi LiuFollow


Centering on the conceptualization of "subjectivity," this article first traces the post-structural theories' impact on as well as their complex relationship with Western feminism. It then explores the development of the theorization of “women 's subjectivity" in academic research on Chinese women and gender discourses in socialist China from the 1980s. By examining the application of three influential theorists,Louis Althusser,Michel Foucault,and Judith Butler,in the Chinese context,this article intends to show the complex genealogy of "appropriating" post-structural theories for different agendas of contemporary Chinese feminist criticism. Some scholars integrated post-structural ideas into liberal-humanist discourses; some employed post- structuralist feminism to de-essentialize and historicize the analysis of "subjectivity" and "agency" of socialist Chinese women; some questioned the effectiveness of post-structural theories in studying the Chinese socialist culture from the perspective of historical materialism. Different research paradigms of theorizing "female subjectivity" have proven to be influenced and informed by the changing ideologies and social discourses in China since the 1980s.


post-structural theories, feminist criticism, “subjectivity”