Book: Gender Matters
Chapter: 5. Transitivity analysis
The aim of this essay is to evaluate critically a form of close feminist textual analysis – the analysis of transitivity choices, that is, who does what to whom in a text. Following Deirdre Burton’s influential essay on transitivity, this chapter sets this type of analysis within a wider framework of feminist textual analysis and considers some of the advantages of a close textual analysis in general for feminist work (Burton, 1982). It also considers some of the difficulties which this type of work engenders, and proposes a model of feminist analysis prepared to acknowledge some of the difficulties of attributing straightforward meanings to sets of language items.