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A melancholic veil of perversion

Todoran, Alexandra (2013) A melancholic veil of perversion. Edinburgh Napier University.

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Abstract

The notion of identity is intimately linked to the way in which one conceptualises the existence of the subject. In contrast to the modern, Cartesian, conception of the subject as a self-identical, conscious agent, Lacan proposes a subject of the unconscious, a subject who emerges, through the intercession of language, in a division between (pure) being and meaning, in the realm of the Other, of the symbolic order. Put differently, the existence of the subject and, consequently, the assumption of identity, are inextricably bound to the Other. Adopting a Lacanian standpoint, the main premise of the present project is that subjectivity represents a specific mode of relating to the symbolic Other and to individual others (the mother, the father, friends, professors and so on) who form this symbolic matrix. Starting from this definition, the current project seeks to explore how identity is forged in the interaction between the subject, individual others and the symbolic Other (in its various manifestations, among which culture and research play important roles) by means of Lacanian Discourse Analysis, a method derived from Lacan's psychoanalytic framework, which acknowledges the all-permeating nature of subjectivity. Deriving from this definition of subjectivity and the associated notion of identity, the nature of (psychological) research is also called into question through an exploration of what it might mean to occupy the position of the analyst. An important consequence of employing a Lacanian approach to research becomes observable in a shift in terms of the goal of research itself: the emphasis is placed on producing a (potentially infinite) number of interpretations which are meant to accommodate the lived experience of each individual in part, while also allowing for connections to be made between such experiences, and not on generating ultimate, universally valid explanations.

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