It is instructive to see a number of questions being posed concerning the acquisition of mature subject identity. If we accept that an adult subject will actually desire things that will, in effect, maintain the current social organisation and if we believe that the congruence of sex, gender and sexual orientation is the result of various processes that secure desires and that our sense of who we are depends on these beliefs, desires and behaviours then it makes sense to look for a theory which describes ways in which the individual is assigned a place in the social order. By extending and developing Marx’s account of ideology it seemed possible to make some sense of women’s ‘false consciousness’ (Barrett, 1988). For this reason various dual systems theorists looked to Althusserian Marxism and hoped to find in his theory of ‘interpellation’ an account of ideology which would be able to explain the exigencies but force of patriarchal ideology. Mitchell herself tried to combine insights of structural linguistics with psychoanalysis, to flesh out an analysis of the development of subject identity. Her early argument is that women’s relation to production, low pay, part-time work and economic dependency is a cause of oppression but that this operates in tandem with biosocial considerations and more general ideas circulating in society concerning masculinity and femininity (Mitchell, 1974). Her psychoanalytic analysis of patriarchy, the supposed transition from monocausal to polyvalent analyses prefigures the move into postmodernism.
Radical feminist ideas about the complex nature of subject identity, and the ways in which heterosexuality functions to maintain social stability, influenced the arguments between dual and unified systems theorists (Keohane, 1- 30). Issues relating to sexuality were brought to the fore of the political agenda by work in women’s refuges, rape crisis centre, around pornography and culminated in the separatist and political lesbianism debates of the middle 70s to early 80s (Evans ed 1994 54 - 74). These arguments, centring on subject identity and sexuality, occurred as the British left, most notably the New Left Review, moved onto a philosophical terrain that could accommodate psychoanalysis and theories concerning the cultural significance of various forms of