The death drive, compulsion to repeat and nationalism explained from the perspective of desire
“It is not enough to say: they were fooled, the masses have been fooled. It is not an ideological problem, a problem of failing to recognize, or of being subject to, an illusion. It is a problem of desire, and desire is part of the infrastructure.”
–Deleuze and Guattari, Anti-Oedipus
Ideology, as explained by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, is not something distinct from the material world, governing people’s tendencies. It is explained by them as a consequence of unconscious libidinal investment in the social field, and as such, it ‘has power’ merely because it ‘gets power’ by the already pre-existent desiring production.
Deleuze and Guattari define desire as an impersonal, material process of production that traverses and co-creates the social field. The method by which Deleuze and Guattari analyse the immanent conditions of desiring production is called schizoanalysis: analysis of the unconscious, primary field of differentiation. It is not restricted to analysis of the personal unconscious, since it investigates the unconscious that is immersed in the all-pervasive field of immanence, conditioning all social tendencies. The presentation explains how unconscious, immanent conditions of nationalistic tendencies could be analysed from the point of view of materialistic desiring production and with the method of schizoanalysis. In this context, the concept of the death drive will be understood as a particular tendency of desire investing itself in the nationalistic procedures of state apparatus – in the compulsive, unchangeable procedure of differentiation and change. The symptom of nationalism is explained as a compulsion to repeat that threatens the state apparatus invested by the death drive. Moreover, the death drive is not seen as something immanent but as a consequence of complex unconscious processes that could be avoided.
Julija Bonai is an assistant at the Faculty of Social Work, department of Community Mental Health, University of Ljubljana and a yoga teacher. Her PhD thesis was focused on the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze covering the topics such as philosophy of desire, psychoanalysis, political philosophy, mass psychology, relation between psychological and social processes. Her research field includes ontology, philosophy of mind, philosophy and psychology of yoga and ethic.
“Uncanny” Children of War
The Spanish Civil War, in which the distinctions of ideological fronts were the sharpest, has been the subject of many films. One of the most obvious situations that have come to the fore as a common aspect of these films is that the child heroes are at the forefront. Children are presented as “uncanny” beings as a sign of being in harmony with nature and as an extension of this, with the notion of “humanity”. Besides they are also represented in the form of a symbol of distance to the inhuman conditions inhabited and experienced. In this work, we will examine the ways in which the children are expression of the uncanniness through films such as The Spirit of the Beehive (1973), Butterfly (1999), The Devil’s Backbone (2001) and Pan’s Labyrinth (2006). As a common aspect, these films have surrealistic, eery and fantastic narratives. The term “uncanny” is based on a duality arising from the use of the German heimlich word. The heimlich, which means familiar and common is also substituted of the unheimlich (concealed, foreign) that has the opposite meaning. While the heimlich can be taken as a concept in mental uncertainty according to E. Jentsch, it is a category of eeriness and moreover uncertainty alone does not lead to uncanniness for Freud. There has to be something surplus, like mixing imagination with reality, overcoming of spiritual reality to physical reality. In this study, it will be focused on the potential of “uncanny” to be able to build experience of the war that is the reality itself, as well as the ideological biases, social consciousness and conditions in the context of the narratives emphasizing the surreal. It will be questioned that what kind of discourse is developed about this experience in these films.
I am a Research Assistant and a PhD student at the faculty of Communication, Ankara University. My academic background includes a BA in Turkish Language and Literature and an MA in Film Studies. My research interests involve Ideology and Film, Politics and Film, Marxism and Psychoanalysis and European Cinema.
The Anorexic Act of No as a Form of Resistance
How do we rid our speech and our acts,
our hearts and our pleasures, of fascism?
How do we ferret out the fascism
that is ingrained in our behavior?
—Foucault, Introduction to Anti-Oedipus
In One-Dimensional Man Herbert Marcuse argues that capitalist culture is totalitarian in nature, “For ‘totalitarian’ is not only a terroristic political coordination of society, but also a non-terroristic economic-technical coordination which operates through the manipulation of needs by vested interests.”( 5) These false needs become internalized through the everyday experience of living in a capitalist culture, resulting in an inability to discern which desires and ideologies belong to us and which have been internalized. The anorexic, in her refusal to consume is engaging in a speech act and, in essence, is saying, in her not-saying, “No,” to the world (capitalism and its desires and ideologies). For Lacan, the anorexic’s refusal is not a wish to not eat anything but, rather, a wish to consume “Nothing.” As Lacan explains in Seminar XI, “In anorexia nervosa, what the child eats is the nothing.” (104) This “nothing” creates a space between herself and what her culture is offering. In addition, her refusal creates a space within which her desire can exist and functions as a kind of placeholder for her desire (for Nothing; not what her culture is offering).
In my paper I will argue that the contemporary anorexic’s resistance can be read as a refusal to consume the desires and ideologies of capitalist culture. Furthermore, in her refusal to consume, the anorexic performs a speech act that allows her body to mark the place between her desire and the desires and ideologies of capitalist culture.
Cynthia Cruz is the author of How the End Begins (Four Way Books, 2016), Wunderkammer (Four Way Books, 2014), The Glimmering Room (Four Way Books, 2012), and Ruin (Alice James, 2006). In 2018, her fifth collection of poems, Dregs, is forthcoming by Four Way Books. She is the recipient of fellowships from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and a Hodder fellowship from Princeton University. Notes Toward a New Language, a collection of essays on silence and marginalization is forthcoming in 2018 by BookThug.
Cruz’s essays and art writings have appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Guernica, and else- where. She is a regular contributor to the art journal, Hyperallergic. Her work has been included in a number of art exhibitions including at The Museum für Neue Kunst and at the SALTS Gallery in Birsfelden Switzerland. A curator, she recently co-curated an exhibition at the A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn, New York.
Born in Germany, Cruz grew up in Northern California. She earned her BA at Mills College, her MFA in Creative Writing at Sarah Lawrence College, and her MFA in Art Writing & Criticism at the School of Visual Arts. Currently a doctoral student in the German Department at Rutgers University Cruz’s research work focuses on modes of resistance. She lives in Brooklyn and in Berlin and teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University.
Psychoanalysis and Ideology: Analysis of the Novel ‘Nervous Conditions’
In Althusser’s essay Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays (2001/1971) He identifies ideology as “conceived through pure illusion, a pure dream, I.e. as nothingness. All reality is external to it. Ideology is thus thought as an imaginary construction whose status is exactly like the theoretical status of the dream among writers before Freud” (2001:108) Tsitsi. Dangarembga’s novel, ‘Nervous Conditions (1989)’, set up in 1960’s Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) is written from a double consciousness based on national consciousness and colonial pathology. ‘Nervous conditions’ is one of the most progressive pieces of text from Zimbabwe. Dangarembga acknowledges the oppression in the patriarchal system towards women in the society adapting some of Fanon’s ideology by showing how women were stuck with the embodiment of being a dominant signifier (Piotrowska 2010:71), but she also develops the characters in a way that and aims for a postcolonial conceptual paradigm. “Psychoanalysis and my belief that the unconscious is not a metaphor but a concrete reality of everyday life fuel this thesis.” (Piotrowska 2014:11) The idea of the unconscious not being a metaphor, but reality resonates in ‘Nervous Conditions’. Using Psychoanalysis, the effects of colonialism are not only highlighted in the book, but the state of melancholia is the undertone of the book. Nair in her essay where she decoded all the women of the novel ‘Nervous Conditions’, she states that the book, although fictional, provided some incense of a historical account, suggesting that the tittle of the book itself, ‘Nervous conditions’, reflects the women in the society stating “a title that signifies upon the absent bodies signified, the status of the native itself is a nervous condition (Nair1995:131).
Released in 1988 then to 8-year-old Zimbabwe, the book touched home on some social psychological issues the country was facing like decolonization. “The issues of socio-psychological interaction and cultural stress, which are explored by Dangarembga in the gendered family situation will continue to have an important effect on the lives of people in any new Zimbabwean Nation” (Capman1990. 306) One theme that stands out in ‘Nervous Conditions is the issue of identity pre and post-colonial times, “the task of physical decolonization is made complicated and difficult” (Ahmad 2010:57). Ahmad explains that decolonization is not necessarily a physical process but one that must be done mentally and emotionally. People still fight against and the possible idea of the colonial trajectory being projected. Supriya Nair explains how “colonial alienation takes on two interlinked forms, active or (passive) distancing of oneself from the reality around and an active passive identification with that which is most external to one’s environment” (Nair 1995:130.). It is important to note that the state of melancholia which can be defined as “natural sadness over the loss of a loved subject” (Piotrowska 2016:48) not only relates to women but all genders however basing on what Nair stated in her essay “colonial melancholy, the condition associated with specific history of colonialism became the ambivalently privileged position associated with the male subject. The neuroses of female subjects are not just devalued but unrecognized, either because pathological behaviours are a natural condition or because they are refused the agency” (Nair.1995.130) one can conclude that there is a need of exploring the effect of melancholia on women. This paper aims to analyse using psychoanalysis the effects of colonialism on the character in ‘Nervous conditions’ but also highlight the state of pre and post melancholia in the book daring to answer the question is colonialism an ideology?
Capitalism and Its Discontents. Culture of Narcissism as a symptom of Jaques Lacan’s “capitalist discourse”.
Strict, “cultural” morality, in which Freud saw one of the sources of mental suffering, undoubtedly is today a matter of the past. Contemporary culture should rather be characterized as permissive than rigorous. Despite this type of social change, “das Unbehangen in der Kultur” described by Freud does not disappear, although it has changed its form. According to Christopher Lasch, contemporary culture can be described as a “culture of narcissism” as in a less extreme form it promotes traits characteristic of pathological narcissism: ambivalent dependence towards others connected with fear of dependence, sense of inner emptiness and insatiable, “oral” desire. In the clinical context, this seems to result not only in an increased occurrence of narcissistic personality disorders, but also depression and addiction, especially in its contemporary forms such as addiction to the Internet, pornography or shopping. Lasch emphasizes that the reasons for this state of affairs should be sought in the ever-increasing influence exerted on the life of the individual by the late-capitalist economy. A precise formalization of this dependence seems to be provided by the lacanian matheme of capitalist discourse, which can be read both as a model of capitalist organization of the means of production and the constitution of contemporary subjectivity. Consequently, various manifestations of the “culture of narcissism” can be interpreted as symptoms peculiar to the structure of capitalist discourse proposed by Lacan.
Antoni Grzybowski, Institute of Psychology, Jagellonian University, Cracow, Poland
MA in Psychology, curently PhD student in Institute of Psychology, Jagiellonian University, working on doctoral thesis on psychoanalysis and (post)modern subjectivity. Member of Cracow Psychoanalytic Circle of New Lacanian School. Intersted in interdisciplinar studies in psychoanalysis, philosophy and contemporary culture, especially from freudian and lacanian perspective.
Emine GULAL SAHIN & Turker SAHIN
(UN)KNOWN STORY OF HANZO: WHAT MADE (UN)BARRED SUBJECT OF KEMALIST MODERNIZATION PROJECT SO POPULAR IN 1970s?
Kemal Sunal, as one of the most popular comedy actor of Turkish Cinema, played in more than 35 films in 1970s. In one of the most popular films Hanzo (1975), he portrayed a wild man who was captured by villagers, and sent to a university to be analyzed in a scientific project that will find out he is an animal or humanbeing. After the scientific team discovers that he is a humanbeing, their coordinator, professor claims that even Hanzo feels like an animal, he needs to be educated as a subject.
Hanzo’s uncanny adventure which made him so popular for more than 20 years can be seen as an unknown known which Slavoj Žižek claims: We know the things, but we don’t know that we know them. The struggle between the center and periphery was always a problem for any ideologies in Anatolia. Ottomans used to deal with it by giving autonomies to the local communities as long as they accepted the Sultan’s authority. However, Kemalism never considered such solutions after the republican revolution: Autonom leaders or another master’s discourses were never accepted. In this regard, modernization project started to shape the social and symbolic life in the country.
From the language people speak to the culture they lived was tried to be reshaped by creating a new symbolic order. In the end, subjectification process became a paradoxal experience for people in periphery. As their subjectification started in their families, and they barred by their local symbolic orders, they were accepted as wild, uncanny members of the community by the cynicals; just like Hanzo. However, this parodaxal side of their identification with Hanzo was always unknown for kynicals, even they lived in it.
The Ideology of Enjoyment
Within this paper I will attempt to discuss the relationship between ideology and enjoyment by focusing enjoyment images people post on Instagram. Considered increasing value of being online and sharing, it is safe to say that sharing (or displaying) is one of the most characteristic acts of our society: to share or not to share, that is the question. Statistics clearly shows that this is not just a simple word game. But we don’t even need to mention statistics in order to prove the popularity of Instagram in our society. In fact, what is exceptional today is to find someone who does not share his/her dinner on the Instagram.
According to Todd McGowan (2013), there is a fundamental difference between capitalist society and the one prior to it, and this difference lies in how they deal with enjoyment. While traditional social order prohibits enjoyment, capitalist society promotes precisely the opposite direction: Enjoy! By following him, I will try to interpret popularity of Instagram in terms of capitalist imperative that commands us to enjoy. The two main questions I’ll pursue will be following: What is enjoyment? Why do we need to display that we are enjoying?
Kemal Güleç, PhD candidate, Faculty of Communication, Ankara University, Turkey
I am a research assistant and PhD candidate at the faculty of Communication, Ankara University. I am also a junior translator. The books I translated from English to Turkish are “Enjoying What We Don’t Have” (Todd McGowan, 2003) and “The Lacanian Subject” (Bruce Fink, 1995).
‘The inexistent of the world’: British Cinema, 1968 and the symptom
This paper will examine a number of British films from 1968 in order to argue that the radical feature film represents two subjects: those who are founded as subject by their fidelity to the Event that took place on the site where the symptom is located; and those who attempt to efface the symptom through a utopian belief in what Žižek describes as a ‘universality without its symptom’ (1989: 23).
This entails a marrying of Lacanian and Badiouian theories of the subject in order to interrogate a binary pertaining to 1968 that is set up by the forms of the subject in the films: an idealist subject who disavows the material conditions of existence; and a materialist subject who is cognisant of them and wishes to change them. The forms of the subject present in the texts align with Badiou’s (2010: 35-40) differing forms of 1968, allowing us to situate the texts historically.
Furthermore, following Bell’s postulate that the difference between Lacan and Badiou’s subject pertains to their relationship to the void (2011: 111-112), and that this is a movement from ontology to philosophy, we will argue that it is actually a movement from ontology to politics, allowing us to posit our two subjects of 1968: one faithful to it whose subjectivity is subtracted from fidelity to what Hallward (2003: 150) calls the ‘symptomal real’ and a utopian one who attempts to erase the symptom, but is finally resigned to it, and to their finitude and mortality.
Badiou, A (2009) Logics of Worlds. Trans. A, Toscano. London: Continuum
Badiou, A (2010) The Communist Hypothesis. Trans. D, Macey & S, Corcoran. London: Verso
Bell, L (2011) ‘Articulations of the Real: from Lacan to Badiou’. In Paragraph. Vol 34, No 1. 105-120
Hallward, P (2003) Badiou: A Subject to Truth. Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis Press
Žižek, S (1989) The Sublime Object of Ideology. London: Verso
I am about to submit my thesis for an AHRC-funded PhD at the University of Stirling entitled Theories of the Subject: British Cinema and 1968. I use a Lacanian and Badiouian framework to interrogate the subject within the British Cinema of this era, in order to argue for the efficacy of ideological critique in the examination of film texts; moreover, I also examine 1968 tout court as radical event. I have presented at the last two Film-philosophy conferences and at recent conferences pertaining to the legacies of 1968 and British Cinema in the 1960s. I have published in the area of psychoanalytic theory and cinema, plus I have a chapter in an upcoming volume on Cinema and the Crisis.
Prior to my current research, I was Senior Lecturer in Film and Media Studies at the University of Bolton. In the next academic year I will be teaching at the Universities of Manchester and Salford.
An Exploration of the Homophobic Understanding of Fascist Ideology in Adorno – A Critical Reevaluation of Orthodox Freudian Understanding of the Homosexual.
Adorno in Freudian Theory and the Pattern of Fascist Propaganda (1951) and in The Authoritarian Personality (1950) comes to equate the fascist follower to the repression of homosexuality. This understanding of the connection between homosexuality and fascism strikes me and others (Amidon, 2008, and Randall, 1995.) as being problematic in regards to modern day emancipation of sexual orientations. Hence, this article will firstly, outline Adorno’s understanding of fascism and homosexuality and the psychoanalytic theories used by Adorno to posit such an understanding of fascist ideology. Secondly, I will propose a different psychoanalytic theory, that of Otto Gross, as providing a more contemporary acceptable understanding of sexuality and repression. By first examining the differences in their (Freud and Gross) theories of sexuality and repression, and secondly, by reexamining Adorno’s theory of fascist ideology in light of this, it is the aim of this paper to propose a new interpretation of fascist ideology, one which is relieved of any homophobic repression. I will argue that of Gross understanding of sexuality is more emancipatory than Freud’s. Hence, I come to interpret Gross’ insistence on a primordial matriarchy and his notion of what I shall term ‘the politics of free sex’ as a decisive break with the orthodox Freudian psychoanalysis which forms the basis for the homophobia in Adorno.
PhD student at the Polish Academy of Science, MA in Philosophy from the University of Amsterdam, BA in Applied Philosophy from Aalborg University.
Theorizing Community and Network: A Biopolitical Sexuation with Global Cinema
I first look into the essentialist view that humans inherently desire to build up community with political ideals and the biopolitical immunity. Here, the other is incorporated into or excluded from the Same, a totality that can even be totalitarian as the desire for community is structured with power. From this angle, I biopolitically refer to Jacque Lacan’s masculine formula of “sexuation”: all are submitted to the phallic function with one exception. It is the “primal father” who transcends the law of castration, the symbolic order in which the desire of the rest for that exceptional superego’s enjoyment is structured though never fulfilled. Likewise, the big Other of the community takes its transcendent center that embodies its utopian vision desired by its subjects, as seen in modern projects of nation building and revolution, rightist or leftist. I explore this Other-subject dyad in terms of the Hegelian master-slave dialectic and the sovereign-abject relation, looking over Pan’s Labyrinth, Timbuktu, and The Master.
Then, I adapt Lacan’s feminine sexuation—not all are submitted to the phallic function but there is no exception—to the logic of networking. If community forms the totality of all and an exception, network has the infinity of connections with no exceptional outside. Via Deleuzian theories, I argue that community is a closed set of subjects, a “tree-like” vertical system of hierarchical units in a historical utopian trajectory. But network is an open whole of indistinct ‘subjects-abjects,’ a “rhizomatic” horizontal movement of non-dialectical relations. While communal subjectivity is “disciplined,” it is “controlled” to become modulable agency in ever-changing networks without exit. The “network narrative” is driven by mobile agents of decentralized events, as in Waking Life, Holy Motors, and Mysterious Object at Noon. This theorization will help examine the shift of community to network in today’s global society.
Seung-hoon Jeong is Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies at New York University Abu Dhabi. He has mostly worked on film theory and critical issues through diverse films, and is focusing on global cinema related to multiculturalism, abjection, catastrophe, and networking with biopolitical, psychoanalytic, and ethical philosophies. Jeong received Korea’s Cine21 Film Criticism Award (2003) and the SCMS Dissertation Award (2012). He wrote Cinematic Interfaces: Film Theory After New Media (Routledge, 2013), co-translated Jacques Derrida’s Acts of Literature in Korean (Moonji, 2013), and co-edited The Global Auteur: The Politics of Authorship in 21st Century Cinema (Bloomsbury, 2016). He is currently guest-editing a special issue of Studies in the Humanities on East Asian Cinema (forthcoming in 2018) and working on his next book Global Cinema: Biopolitical Abjection and Ethical Atopia.
Shorting the ‘Fake News’ Circuit with the Slovenian School: a dramatic approach.
In Freud’s work on dreams (1997), he notes that some dreams attach many meanings to a single, significant signifier in a process he terms condensation. One such signifier is Irma, who he realises stands in his unconscious as a metaphor for all the women in his life. In other cases, Freud observes the psyche doing the reverse; transferring a single meaning of great importance, onto multiple, trivial signifiers, in a metonymic, or contiguous process he terms ‘displacement’. Freud uses Desdemona’s handkerchief from Othello to illustrate, because it carries her fidelity with it, even as it changes hands on a journey to seemingly signify the opposite.
The paper aims to use the structures of condensation and displacement to explore what it proposes to be the revolutionary potential of psychoanalysis in the wider social context of performance. It will trace their conceptual development into the antagonistic ‘life’ and ‘death’ drives which Freud supposed have been ‘locked in a battle from the very beginning’, to create the ‘peculiar tension’ that motivates both drama and child-play (2006: 191, 194). Lacan located this tension as a plastic relation between gaze and voice he termed ‘desire’. Desire’s tendency to condense sound and thought allows us to speak; but its less obvious capacity to displace opens dramatic gaps, which expose the misrecognitions Aristotle called hamartia: today’s ‘fake news’.
The paper will involve slides, video, and performance. It will investigate ventriloquism as a performance practice where gaze and voice are confused so that ‘symbolic relations appear as ‘real’’ (Zupančič 2008: 161). It will compare this with the obscene ‘death cry’ of ancient Tragedy that separates gaze and voice to activate a ‘stark opposition between the visible and audible’ (Dolar 2006, 79), and expose the gaps the social mirror fails to reflect: Žižek’s ‘spectre’ of ideology, perhaps (1999: 74).
Dolar, Mladen, (2006) A Voice and Nothing More, Cambridge MA: MIT Press.
Freud, Sigmund, (1997) The Interpretation of Dreams. Trans. A. A. Brill, Ware: Wordsworth.
Freud, Sigmund, (2006) ‘Beyond the Pleasure Principle’. In The Penguin Freud Reader, Adam Phillips (Ed.), London: Penguin.
Lacan, Jacques, (2006) ‘The Subversion of the Subject and the Dialectic of Desire in the Unconscious’. In Écrits. Trans. Bruce Fink, London: Norton.
Zupančič, Alenka, (2008), The Odd One In, Cambridge: MIT Press.
Žižek, Slavoj, (1999), ‘The Spectre of Ideology’. In The Zizek Reader, Elisabeth and Edmund Wright (Eds.), Oxford: Blackwell.
Dr. Kate Katafiasz (firstname.lastname@example.org) is Senior Lecturer in Drama at Newman University, Birmingham, UK. Her research explores the radicalising effect of drama on the relationship between words and bodies in ancient, educational, and poststructural contexts. A recent article ‘Dramatic Jouissance’ is online at: https://erea.revues.org/3940
Is it the Real Thing? Ideology, Enjoyment and the Politics of the Symptom.
This paper is proposed as a supplement to the one I presented at the 2017 symposium on Psychoanalysis and the Symptom. In that paper entitled ‘Taking Lacan at His Word: (How) Did Marx Invent the Symptom and What Might This Mean for Us Now?’, I sought to provide an overview of psychoanalytic interactions with Marxist theory in the critical analysis of the various and, as Marx showed us, inevitable crises of capitalism. The approaches discussed ranged from Lacan’s interventions and seminars in the wake of ‘the events’ of 1968, through to current analyses following the 2007 / 2008 financial crash and the ongoing impact of the long depression in which we find ourselves.
Since the previous symposium, nationalist and right-wing populist trends in worldwide politics have exacerbated, with several extreme governments, political parties and street gangs pursuing vicious policies against refugees, migrants and others. Publications such as Alenka Zupančič’s What IS Sex? (2017), Slavoj Žižek’s ‘dialogue’ with that book, Incontinence of the Void (2017), and Žižek, Ruda and Hamza’s Reading Marx (2018), have continued to provide important critical interventions. In addition, the recent formation of groups such as ZADIG (Zero Abjection Democratic International Group) and the Laboratory for Lacanian Politics UK, demonstrates the psychoanalytical field’s growing awareness of the necessity for it to become more directly involved in political matters.
In this paper I aim to use a range of examples from film, television and political protests to investigate what these tell us about ideology in its various guises, and how the politics of the symptom/sinthome might be used to provide us with the means of pursuing a new commonality in response to the deadly effects of neoliberal capitalism.
Allister Mactaggart, PhD, is a Lecturer in Media at Chesterfield College, UK. He has published widely on various artistic endeavours of David Lynch, including the monograph The Film Paintings of David Lynch: Challenging Film Theory (Intellect, 2010), as well as other conference presentations, articles and book chapters on topics in fine art, film, television and popular music. His work is primarily centred around the dialectical relationship between the psyche and the social as it manifests itself in culture, society and politics.
‘There is no such thing as the East’: The Lacanian Orientations of Edward Said
In 1938, shortly before his death, Freud wrote one of the single most evocative aphorisms extant in his corpus:
Räumlichkeit mag die Projektion der Ausdehnung des psychischen Apparats sein. Keine andere Ableitung wahrscheinlich. Anstatt Kants a priori Bedingungen unseres psychischen Apparats. Psyche ist ausgedehnt, weiß nichts davon.
Perhaps one day, the profundity of this dictum will be realized, beyond the modicum of attention it has received thus far. In particular, the theoretical discourses loosely gathered under the name “postcolonialism” would do well to heed the consequences of Freud’s ultimate statement. Spatiality, Freud seems to say, is an effect of the Psyche’s own distended and contracted arrangement. Our perceptions of and affective investments in topoi near and far are then a function of our own psychic cartography.
In 1978, Edward Said’s Orientalism sought to argue that representative constructs—in this case about the Orient—would appear to have more to say about one’s own self-relation than any objective perception of the outside world. And until this day, the belief stands that Said articulated his analysis in a Foucauldian register. Arguing that Freud, and even more, Lacan, was in fact the true theoretical influence upon Said—though repressed for political reasons—my intervention at the “Psychoanalysis in Our Times” conference would center upon a re-assessment of the field of “postcolonialism” with reference to the field of psychoanalysis. Latent vs. manifest orientalism, the mirror stage, the ambivalent object of the Orient, and the tendency for fantasy to overrun the desired entity all figure prominently in Said’s work, thus I attempt to both situate psychoanalysis at the birth of postcolonial studies and make a case for the necessity of psychoanalysis in reorienting the field today. Drawing upon examples from the arts ranging from Pasolini’s films and poetry about Palestine to Blake’s Jerusalem to Bizet’s Carmen and beyond, I try and offer examples of the precarious dialectic between self and other, here and there, which may simply be raging in our own psyches.
I am a doctoral candidate in Princeton University’s Department of Comparative Literature, where one of my focuses is on the history of orientalism and exile from classical antiquity until today, across Ancient Greek, Latin, English, French, German and Arabic. At Brown University, I was a Fellow at the Pembroke Center for Feminist Theory where I took part in a year-long seminar with Joan Copjec on Lacanian psychoanalysis. Prior to entering Princeton, I spent two years at Freie Universitaet studying fin-de-siècle German-Jewish culture primarily Freud, Kafka, Herzl). My article on Edward Said’s theory of commitment in relation to the maîtres à penser of 20th c. France entitled “The End of Intellectuals” is forthcoming in the Radical Review of History (vol. 134).
Transference and Authority: Within and Beyond the Psychoanalytic Frame
In one of his writings on technique, Freud suggested that transference is as present within the psychoanalytic framework as it is outside of it (Standard Edition XII 101). In fact, he points out that the work of psychoanalysis involves an isolation of transference, which allows for its analysis in what Andreas Mayer has referred to as a “laboratory-like setting.” But if this operation consists, indeed, in an isolation, instances of transference would be ubiquitous, and would inform most relationships between subjects, both through its presence or its absence. Transference informs the relationships between human subjects, but might also explain the relationships between theories or concepts. It provides a reading of interactions between individuals, but might also shed light on the relationships between cultures—and in fact, the global history of psychoanalysis provides numerous examples of how psychoanalysis has been received in different countries throughout the globe, and how it has interacted with different national conjunctures. The history of psychoanalysis in India and the work of Girindrasekhar Bose provide a particularly compelling example where relationships of authority, the production of knowledge, and the logic of colonialism are intertwined. How does transference operate outside the psychoanalytic framework? Does the notion of the cure still have a role? Is transference, outside that framework, still psychoanalytic? In this paper, I will analyze the role of authority in transference, both in its specifically psychoanalytic instances and in others that exceed it.
Candela Potente is a PhD Candidate in Comparative Literature at Princeton University. Her research interests focus on the relationship between psychoanalysis and theories of concept formation, as well as on critical theory and global psychoanalysis. She holds a degree in Philosophy from the University of Buenos Aires.
Politics of Recep Ivedik 5: Hero of Turkish Periphery Dominates Youth Olympics 2016; or How We Learned Stop Worrying and Enjoy Cheating
Comedy always had an important role in Turkish Culture. From the first decades of Ottomans, people have watched the funny stories of Karagöz and Hacivat. Hacivat, as a cynical subject, represented the bureaucrat class in Ottomans; he was a well-educated man, and insisted on wearing the ideological mask, also wanted to convince Karagöz to do so. On the other hand, Karagöz represented the ordinary people. As a kynical subject, each time his friend tried, Karagöz always claimed that there are higher values than wearing that mask, and used his slaps to make Hacivat to see that even an ignorant nomad can realize it. As a genre, Turkish Comedy shaped by their struggle. Especially in Turkish Cinema, Karagöz became an ego-ideal popular many characters. In all decades, people loved their kynical efforts while our popular comedians questioned the master’s discourse, and never took a stand besides authority.
On the other hand, in 2017, Recep Ivedik 5 dominated all records as it was watched by 7.437.050 people in movie-theaters. Recep’s successful efforts full of cheating and deceiving in Youth Olympic Games 2016 to make Turkish National Team get 15 medals, made it the most popular Turkish film in all-time. Besides imitating Karagöz’s slaps, his conservative comedy portrays the fantasy of the new master’s discourse. While Erdogan -as the voice of oppressed people- doesn’t hesitate to follow unethical and illegal ways for the sake of Turkish nation, and brings an era full of national and international fraud scandals, Recep cynically follows similar ways with help of Turkish bureaucrats. In the end, Recep boosts Turkey’s international reputation on a fantasy stage while his master Recep makes it downfall in reality.
“We are all just on our own”: Ideology and freedom in “Killing Them Softly”
“Killing Them Softly” (Dominik, 2012) is among few films to ever receive an “F” on CinemaScore’s audience survey. The dislike is mainly due to the socio-critical way in which the film uses political found footage and depicts the United States. To create a grim version of America the Boston setting of the novel, “Cogan’s Trade” (Higgins, 1974), on which the film is based on, is replaced in the film by post-Katrina Louisiana. Throughout television and radio broadcasts of the 2008 economic crash and presidential elections can be witnessed. Although critics were kinder to the film, many still perceived “Killing Them Softly” as dismantling the American ideology of perceiving the nation as a community. Some considered the film to illustrate that the idea of a society is a “facade that masks a system run on pitiless self-interest and greed”, others countered what they held to be the film’s cynicism of the U.S. and Obama with a patriotic remark that at least America is “a free country”.
In this paper I suggest that such readings derive from a more traditional understanding of ideology where the latter is seen as a discourse that attempts to hide some inner truth about reality. In contrast, I will offer a reading of the film informed by the Žižekian reversal of ideology, according to which ideology does not delude one from truth, but which recognises ideology as offering fundamental support for one’s (social-)being. This allows me to exemplify how the film suggests that America is a free country precisely because it allows one to recognise community for what it truly is – an ideology. The film does not appear to suggest that politicians successfully trick people into recognising themselves as part of a community but highlights the difficulty of politics to re-establish itself as a master-narrative over the more attractive alternative of business. My reading of “Killing Them Softly” suggest the continuing value of psychoanalytical ideology criticism in Film Studies and shows the potential perils of favouring business to community.
Teet Teinemaa is a research fellow and a lecturer in Film Studies at Tallinn University. Teinemaa recently defended his PhD in Film Studies at the University of Warwick. His thesis explores the contemporary American multi-protagonist film (“The Big Short” etc), particularly the film form’s focus on the notion of contingency, via the thinking of Jacques Rancière and Slavoj Žižek. Teinemaa’s current research explores how contemporary Estonian cinema represents Estonia’s recent social transformation from a Soviet state to a largely neoliberal one.
Farce or propaganda? The Shifting Role of Political Satire from Oh What a Lovely War to The Death of Stalin
In this study I explore the nature of the cinematic image “hiding” under the façade of satire in British cinema, positing that what oftentimes passes as condemnation of the “Other’s” totalitarianism in “first world” filmmaking is a legitimization of nothing but the “first world’s” own brand of totalitarian ideology.
As part of my analysis, I look at how political satire, with its roots in the 20s agitprop theatre, inspired Joan Littlewood’s Oh What a Lovely War, only to shift in function and transform at the beginning of the new millennium into veiled “propaganda” as in Armando Iannucci’s The Death of Stalin, which I consider an important marker of the shift in the satirical genre. I pay particular attention to the transmogrified use of theatricality and Bakhtin’s concept of the carnivalesque in both films, claiming that the apparent de-politicization of the image hides an active ideological function.
As such, using Zizek’s induction that totalitarianism, when used as a theoretical concept in discursive practice, “instead of enabling us to think, … actively prevents us from thinking,” I posit that late Hollywood has rerouted the subversive role of political satire from one of contestation to one of imposition. Despite the apparent anti-totalitarian “message” of Iannucci’s film, I argue that what we are witnessing in late Hollywood is an impoverishment of expression leading to an increasingly more transparent use of propaganda masquerading as satire.
Bio: I am a last year PhD candidate from the National University of Singapore. My research focuses on the postsocialist space, in which I take a comparative approach to the transition from communism to capitalism in the cases of Romanian, Chinese, and ex-Yugoslav cinemas.
“Fromm’s Concept of Necrophilia as a Key to Understanding Contemporary Political and Cultural Phenomena in Poland”.
Abstract: Recent Polish politics has become a cause for concern for other European Union members, with a notable exception of Hungary. Poland, headed by the government of the Law and Justice party, is drifting away from the democratic values embraced in 1989, when Communism was abolished, and the values once again reassured in 2004, when Poland became a member of the European Union; as a state it is also rejecting, in an ever more patent manner, certain human rights and humanitarian solidarity (e.g. Poland has firmly closed its doors to the refugees; we heard the vice-minister of justice calling publicly for the restoration of torture and death penalty). Summing up the political situation in Poland, it has clearly taken an authoritarian and regressive turn, which was only possible thanks to the massive support the Law and Justice party cherishes – around 35-40% of the voters are in favour of the present government.
Erich Fromm’s concept of necrophilia seems to be the key to understanding this situation. On one hand, many behaviours, comments and decisions of the members of the present government can be viewed as expressions of the necrophilic orientation as described by Fromm; on the other hand, though, and maybe more importantly, these politicians themselves are products of the Polish symbolic culture, with its long-standing myths and narratives, shaped, according to prof. Maria Janion, one of the authorities of the Polish literary world, according to the martyrological model. This model promotes such values as an apotheosis of death, suffering and exclusion; the ideological discourse of the Polish right harnesses these deeply rooted concepts, reviving the “traditional” Polish identity – something to hold on to for those seeking solace and reassurance in group narcissism.
Author: Ewelina Topolska, PhD in Theory of Literature and Comparative Literature, Postgraduate Diploma in Bibliotherapy. Her present research focuses on the applications of Fromm’s psychoanalysis in literary and theatre study, as well as using literature and theatre in psychoeducation.
A face to Face encounter: prostitute and the Capital
The paper examines Julia Kristeva’s notion of abject in relation to what Slavoj Žižek calls “the real of social antagonism” through close reading of the film, Claire Dolan (Lodge Kerrigan: 1998). The presentation primarily centers on the way abjection is situated in the film through the articulation of ‘class antagonism’ and the sexual difference. In this way, abjection emerges within the corporate capitalist society in contrast to that of the early nineteenth century’s sociopolitical process of abjection, typified by the exclusion of the filthy, unhealthy and the improper. Claire Dolan’s diegetic world professes the erosion of differences, that between the bourgeois, capitalist society and its founding borders as well as the demarcation line that distinguishes the prostitute body from “the clean and proper body.” Rather than resulting from the marginalization or abjection of the prostitute body at the level of society, this paper discusses that Claire Dolan’s capitalist world evokes a sense of abjection through a lack of differentiation, elicited by its display of non-differentiated, ‘serialized bodies,’ and the illusion of ‘social leveling.’ Class difference, or what Žižek terms “class antagonism,” is hidden away in the liberal capitalist system by the homogenizing effect of ‘social leveling,’ that instead calls attention to the differences of sex, race and ethnicity. Although class struggle is excluded from Claire Dolan’s explicit narrative, in that all the characters are unequivocally invested in the capitalist socioeconomic relations, I argue that the repressed “real of antagonism” returns, creating a sense of abjection through its expression in the film’s form.
Bio: Defne Tüzün earned a Ph.D. in English from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2011. She received a B.A. in Philosophy from Boğaziçi University in 1998, and an M.A. in Film and Television from Istanbul Bilgi University in 2002. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Radio, Television and Cinema Department at Kadir Has University, Istanbul. Her research focuses on film theory and criticism, psychoanalytic theory, and narratology.
The Sublime Object Revisited: Paranoia, Symmetry and Who Is America?
In this paper, I will revisit Slavoj Žižek’s theory of the “sublime object of ideology”, particularly where it is framed as “negative magnitude” (1997: 81) – wherein the internal contradictions or antagonisms of a particular society are ideologically displaced onto an external figure of the Other – in order to explore the paranoiac logics and symmetrical fantasies of the contemporary political landscape as depicted (and satirised) in Sacha Baron Cohen’s recent series, Who Is America? (Showtime, 2018).
Ben Tyrer is Associate Lecturer in Film Theory at Middlesex University. He is the author of Out of the Past: Lacan and Film Noir (Palgrave, 2016), and co-editor of Psychoanalysis and the Unrepresentable (2016) and Femininity and Psychoanalysis in Cinema and Theory (forthcoming), both Routledge. He is a member of the Editorial Board of the Film-Philosophy Journal, and co-coordinator of the Psychoanalysis in Our Time research network.
Intersectionality and ideology in cinema and culture: An analysis of Parched (Sex and the Village: An Indian Version)
This paper aims to explore how gender and socio-economic class is portrayed in Parched (2015) an Indian drama film directed by Leena Bhatnagar. Parched is a story of four women living in a village in Rajasthan, India. The deserted village and the society suffers from social and patriarchal practices such as child marriage, marital rape, dowry and physical abuse. Four women boldly talks about men, sex and life as they struggle with their own personal wars against patriarchal society. The film challenges the very meaning of what it means to be a woman in a rural setting of India as well as exploring different variations of womanhood.
Laura Mulvey’s 1975 publication “Visual Pleasures and Cinema” was one of the first works that shifted the positioning of film theory towards psychoanalysis. The paper intends to interrogate Parched (2015) using Laura Mulvey’s psychoanalytical theories.
Psychoanalytical theory, is thus appropriate here a s a tool, signifying the way the unconscious of patriarchal society has shaped the film form. The fundamental purpose of this 20-minute paper is to comprehend the desire for freedom portrayed and, a new space created by female characters and its struggles against patriarchy challenging itself as a maker of meaning, not the bearer of meaning.
Furthermore, Intersectionality concept coined by Kimberle Crenshaw, using intersectional analysis, the paper analyses second gender representation which does not only contrast women to men but shows that there is a power dynamic between different culture, and a struggle, between women of colour. The intersection between culture, gender, social class enables to analyse the representation of femininity in a very different culture, India.
Biographical note: – Priyanka Verma is a MPhil/PhD candidate at the University of Bedfordshire. Her research interest lies in the women representation and the women’s agency in Bollywood. This relates several substantive areas of Film industry including discrimination, gender inequalities, women representation and intersectional studies and social cognitive theories. She also holds a master’s degree in Digital Film productions.
On Being Eaten: Frantz Fanon and Racialised Phobias
In this paper, I investigate how psychoanalysis—as the only substantial Western discourse of subjectivity—has been involved in the colonial enterprise. I will do so in an oblique way, by exploring an uncomfortable racial trope, an untested, yet deeply rooted assumption in Western representations of colonial encounters. From Shakespeare’s Prospero and Caliban, and Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and Friday, to Freud’s narrative of the cannibal-brothers in the primal horde, we find the racialised imagery of the other as cannibal. In Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks, this colonial smear takes the form of a racist phobia: the white man’s fear of being eaten by the black man. In the book’s most famous passage a young, white boy sees a black man on the street and shouts to his mother: ‘Look Mama, a Negro […] Mama, the nigger’s going to eat me up.’ Drawing on Freud’s theory of phobia, Fanon argues that forbidden forms of sexual desire produce libidinal excesses that sexualise and objectify the black man’s body, reducing him into a ‘phobogenic’ object, with no substantial or autonomous existence. Fanon contends that Freud’s schema of the Oedipus complex does not account for the repressed, homosexual desire towards the white father. For Fanon, this becomes transformed into the racist fear of being engulfed by the body of black man, exposing an untheorized, negative aspect of the Oedipus. Reviewing Fanon’s interrogation of psychoanalysis, this paper concludes by suggesting two things: firstly, that colonial accounts of racialised difference have been far from absent in psychoanalysis. And secondly, it is only by attending to these uncomfortable colonial traces that can transform psychoanalysis into an effective tool in the post-colonial arsenal and radical, social critique.
Marita Vyrgioti is a PhD student in the Department of Psychosocial Studies, at Birkbeck University of London, funded by the School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy. Her thesis ‘The Cannibal Trope: A Psychosocial Critique of Psychoanalysis’ examines how psychoanalysis was formed by colonialism, by tracing the imagery of the cannibal trope and additionally, how it has contributed to the decolonisation of Western thinking. She is supervised by Professor Stephen Frosh. Her latest work involves a book chapter titled ‘Freud and the Cannibal,’ which will be published in the collective volume ‘Wilding Analysis: From the Couch to Cultural and Political Life’ by Routledge, Beyond the Couch series (forthcoming).
Presentation title: Motherless Subjects and Mothered Selves: Psychoanalysis, Ideology, and the Maternal
My paper proposal is a response to the list of topics presented in the Conference’s Call for Papers. While the CFP prominently features diverse offshoots of Marxism and Lacanism, it seems to overlook the non-paternally oriented psychoanalytical frameworks. The list thus reflects the dominant theoretical frame within cultural studies, which tends to operate along the subjectivity-ideology axis, rather than focus on the significance of the primary bond when it comes to self-formation and relationality. In my presentation, I want to shed some light on the less salient strand of the psychoanalytic scholarship, which for the last three decades has gone under the label of motherhood studies. Following the discoveries of Donald Winnicott (1971) and John Bowlby (1951, 1979, 1988), some contemporary academics and psychoanalysts – among them Teresa Brennan, Jessica Benjamin, and Bracha Ettinger – argue for the foundational role of the primary bond both for the process of self-making and the resultant relational pattern. They maintain that it is the expulsion of the lived mothering experience that allows for the phantasmatic establishment of the contemporary Western subject which subscribes to the Freudian-Lacanian tradition of inner intransparency and (self-)alienation, rather than being geared towards empirical relationships with other people that involve commitment and failure followed by reparation. In my talk I want to discuss the potential of the “maternal turn” in psychoanalysis (Bueskens 2014) which challenges the morbidity of the Lacanian approach by redefining the human along the notions of embodied relationality, intersubjectivity and the capacity for mutual recognition. I will illustrate my points with a brief discussion of American visual artist Mary Kelly’s installation Post-Partum Document (1973-79) to demonstrate the potential of mother-oriented psychoanalysis to overcome some of the cul-de-sacs of the Freudian-Lacanian framework.
Benjamin, J. 2007. Intersubjectivity, Thirdness, and Mutual Recognition. Talk given at the Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Los Angeles. The Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis. Available online at http://icpla.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Benjamin-J.-2007-ICP-Presentation-Thirdness-present-send.pdf, pp. 1-23.
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Bowlby, J. 1979. The Making and Breaking of Affectional Bonds. London: Tavistock.
Bowlby J. 1988. A Secure Base: Parent-Child Attachment and Healthy Human Development. London: Tavistock.
Bowlby, J. 1951. Maternal Care and Mental Health. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson.
Brennan, T. 2004. The Transmission of Affect. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Bueskens, Petra (ed.). 2014. Mothering and Psychoanalysis: Clinical, Sociological and Feminist Perspectives. Ontario: Demeter Press.
Ettinger, B. 2014. Demeter-Persephone Complex, Entangled Aerials of the Psyche, and Sylvia Plath. ESC: English Studies in Canada, 40(1): xx-yy.
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Winnicott, D. 2005 (1971). Playing and Reality. London: Routledge.
Justyna Wierzchowska is Assistant Professor at the Institute of English Studies, University of Warsaw. She holds MA degrees in American Studies and Philosophy, and a PhD in American Studies. She combines psychoanalysis and affect theory to explore the relational and affective dimensions of subjectivity that are manifested in contemporary European and American visual art and popular culture. She is the author of The Absolute and the Cold War: Discourses of Abstract Expressionism (2011), co-editor of In Other Words: Dialogizing Postcoloniality, Race, and Ethnicity (2012) and of the special issue On Uses of Black Camp (2017). She also authors numerous academic articles published in Poland and abroad that focus on the manifestations of the mothering function in contemporary visual art. She teaches courses in philosophy, American art history, art theory, feminist art, and cultural studies. She translates into Polish American modern fiction and art-related books.
Žižek as a critic of New Age
Ambiguous term “New Age” is connecting with phenomena of invisible and private religion described by Thomas Luckmann, which often refer to esoteric tradition: occultism, gnosis and Far Eastern religions, especially Buddhism. By Wouter Hanegraaff, esotericism is in history a kind of forbidden knowledge, which is a polemic narration toward science and religion – especially Christianity. For science esotericism is pseudoscience, where is no differ between imagination and reality. For Christians esotericism is indeed antagonist soteriology ˗ autosoteriology. Slavoj Žižek as a critic of New Age stresses connection between science and psychoanalysis, and also turns to atheistic Christianity. For him, Christian values are oppose to “Buddhist attitude”, which is preferred in capitalism. Žižek, like Lacan, trying „return to Freud” and exaggeration his psychoanalysis, which was border to “mud of occultism” – one of the name Carl Gustav Jung analytical psychology. Slovenian analyst renounces from thinking in categories unity of opposition, establishing to oxymoronic thinking – it’s characterizing to dialectic of Georg Wilhelm Hegel. By oxymoronic thinking, the truth is laying in demanding involvement contradictions. Truth is not pursuit to unity, knowing as a third way. For Žižek, obliteration differences between faith and knowledge, is profession for liberal skeptics, and also for conservative fundamentalists. Liberal skeptics, based on science, began to believe in capitalism as something natural. Conservative fundamentalists try to make religion more rational, point to science researches. Beside difference between skeptics and fundamentalists, both of them try to make connection between knowledge and faith, which make both of them similar to New Age.
Michał Wróblewski – master of philosophy and cultural studies. Doctoral student who works on PhDisertation about polish representations of Carl Gustav Jung psychology. He published in “Albo albo. Problemy psychologii i kultury”, “Maska. Magazyn antropologiczno-społeczny-kulturowy”, „Studia z Historii Filozofii”, „Tekstoteka filozoficzna” and few post-conference volumes.