By Rina Arya (auth.)
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Extra resources for Abjection and Representation: An Exploration of Abjection in the Visual Arts, Film and Literature
Another point of difference between Kristeva’s model of psychoanalytical development and Freudian and Lacanian theory is with respect to the emotional transitions in subject development. If Lacan is correct and separation occurs in the Symbolic realm of signiﬁcation then, given the pain and loss that endures, why would the infant turn away from the maternal breast if it represents unadulterated feelings of joy and security? The fear of castration is the traditional response offered by both Freud and Lacan to this issue.
This type of signiﬁcation exists anterior to speech (it is pre-linguistic) and exists in the ‘semiotic chora’. Introduced in Plato’s Timaeus, the ‘chora’ is initially referred to as the ‘receptacle of all becoming’ and is subsequently called space, where it is conceived of as a ﬁeld in which the universe may exist (Zeyl, 2013). In her appropriation of the term, Kristeva exploits the ﬂuidity of the space that cannot be ﬁxed. In Revolution in Poetic Language she argues that ‘[a]lthough the chora can be designated and regulated, it can never be deﬁnitively posited: as a result, one can situate the chora and, if necessary, lend it to a topology, but one can never give it axiomatic form’ (Kristeva, 1984, p.
It is through the abjection of the not-me that the boundaries of the body/self/system in question can be instated. Threats to the boundary come in different forms and are divided into those that come from outside (external) and those that are issued from within (internal). External threats include physical or other types of violence, that disrupt the equilibrium of the system, causing 40 A Cultural History of Abjection 41 the boundaries to falter through erosion or disintegration. Internal threats (such as a tumour in the body) come from within and push outwards, weakening the boundary.
Abjection and Representation: An Exploration of Abjection in the Visual Arts, Film and Literature by Rina Arya (auth.)