Perversion and the Social Relation: sic IV ([sic] Series)

Perversion and the Social Relation: sic IV ([sic] Series)

Language: English

Pages: 240

ISBN: 0822330857

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The masochist, the voyeur, the sadist, the sodomite, the fetishist, the pedophile, and the necrophiliac all expose hidden but essential elements of the social relation. Arguing that the concept of perversion, usually stigmatized, ought rather to be understood as a necessary stage in the development of all non-psychotic subjects, the essays in Perversion and the Social Relation consider the usefulness of the category of the perverse for exploring how social relations are formed, maintained, and transformed.

By focusing on perversion as a psychic structure rather than as aberrant behavior, the contributors provide an alternative to models of social interpretation based on classical Oedipal models of maturation and desire. At the same time, they critique claims that the perverse is necessarily subversive or liberating. In their lucid introduction, the editors explain that while fixation at the stage of the perverse can result in considerable suffering for the individual and others, perversion motivates social relations by providing pleasure and fulfilling the psychological need to put something in the place of the Father. The contributors draw on a variety of psychoanalytic perspectives—Freudian and Lacanian—as well as anthropology, history, literature, and film. From Slavoj Žižek's meditation on “the politics of masochism” in David Fincher's movie Fight Club through readings of works including William Styron's The Confessions of Nat Turner, Don DeLillo’s White Noise, and William Burroughs's Cities of the Red Night, the essays collected here illuminate perversion's necessary role in social relations.

Contributors. Michael P. Bibler, Dennis A. Foster, Bruce Fink, Octave Mannoni, E. L. McCallum, James Penney, Molly Anne Rothenberg, Nina Schwartz, Slavoj Žižek

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into a time when my mind seemed empty of words. . . . [producing] a ver- Fatal West 2,9 tiginous sensation of being sucked into a vast empty space where words do not exist" (128). In projecting himself backwards to that originating moment, he finds that his mind seems empty of words. However, that moment is always a nachtràglich construction, an illusion of wordlessness constructed out of the limitations we experience within language, an illusion of freedom made from the constraints of

of sub- Introduction 5 jectivity, where encounters with the real are traumatic. What we call the perverse structure marks the developmental moment when some notion of a law beyond the idiosyncratic, unsymbolized world of the mOther is glimpsed: there is a place for the law in perversion, unlike in psychosis. But the Law of the Father has not been articulated, and therefore it cannot articulate the subject with other subjects: it can furnish neither the space within which subjectivity can come

consented too readily to my patient's "I know well"; it gratified me, and I did not care to know anything about the "but all the same." I suppose that much the same held for Freud, given what we know about his somewhat superstitious attitude toward the predictability of the day of his death. I felt, for my part, that my patient's satisfaction was all too absurd from the moment that he "knew well." Thus I was relapsing into the position that psychologists and psychiatrists had occupied before the

significance as a kind of short circuit of the moral framework of Christianity. By indulging in such unambiguously transgressive actions, Gilles acquires for himself the certainty of his guilt in the eyes of God; Gilles knows what he is from the perspective of God's desire because he has transgressed His law. Yet by framing his entire confession around the premise that the sole condition for divine forgiveness is a genuine gesture of clemency, Gilles ensures for himself that he will be especially

consists in his taking to its extreme limit the already perverse logic of Jesuitical casuistry that subtended the possibility of earning grace through acts of contrition and self-justification.29 In a theological framework that allows for certainty with respect to the content of the final judgment, the subject acquires divine forgiveness and favor by means of the very transgression of the terms of the covenant. One receives proof of God's love by meriting his forgiveness; in consequence, the

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