About Denise Thompson


Lesbian Feminism

Refereed Papers

Conference Papers

Work in Progress



Denise Thompson, feminist theorist

About this website

This website collects together a body of work in social theory that deserves a wider readership than it has had so far. Written by myself, Denise Thompson, over the last 25 years, this theory started as a radical feminist critique of dominant meanings and values and the meanings and values of domination, largely through textual analyses of the standard academic feminist literature. Subsequently, it developed into a critique of the dominant ideology of our time, i.e. liberalism, and the system it is designed to justify and excuse, i.e. capitalist economic domination. 

The theory was initially an attempt to understand what feminism meant and to bring some clarity to what were often confusing debates, many of which are still unresolved to this day. Through the process of clarifying the meaning of feminism it became clear to me that the conventional practice of focusing only on 'women' limited the feminist project because it too often ignored the existence of the overarching system of male domination that ruled the world. Having got nowhere in my attempts to place a re-thinking of feminism on the public agenda, I turned to theorising that other great source of power and misery, the capitalist economy (which I argue is not 'other' to male domination, but a major variant of it) and its chief apologia, liberalism. 

The theory is argued in a series of papers, articles, letters, emails, etc., some of which were intended for an academic audience, some of which were not. Although the papers in particular are academic in tone and content, they are quite readable, containing neither jargon nor the latest in cutting-edge theoretical sophistication. What is included here is largely unpublished material, although there are also a number of pieces that have been published elsewhere. However, most of my published work is not on this website. A list can be found in the Publications section.

The website is also a critique of the academic publishing industry. It documents the publication history of this body of work, through annotated correspondence and readers' reports from the academic journals (mostly feminist) to which the papers were submitted for publication. This provides a kind of short history of a non-career in academic publishing. These writings, unpleasant though they sometimes are, are included as a case study of what goes on in the academic (so-called) 'peer-reviewing' process.
The website contains six sections: 

  1. The first, About Denise Thompson is a short biographical note giving some relevant details about me. 
  2. The next, the Publications section, contains a list of those of my writings that have been published. 
  3. The Lesbian Feminism section contains papers I wrote on lesbianism and feminism, together with some reactions to what I wrote. It also includes writings by other lesbian feminists.  
  4. The Refereed Papers section contains those papers I sent off to journals, together with the readers' reports and (sometimes) my present day, running commentaries on the reports. 
  5. The Conference Papers section contains mainly conference papers, with now and again some relevant commentary or correspondence. 
  6. Initially, the Work in Progress section didn't contain anything at all. I have since included on it an introduction to the work I did between 1999 and 2001 (and ongoing) in conjunction with Bronwyn Winter and Sheila Jeffreys, and another paper on individualism.