Friday, June 20, 2014

Be Careful of Getting What You're Wishing For

...the pervert's universe is the universe of pure symbolic order, of the signifier's game running its course, unencumbered by the Real of human finitude.


And, back to sexual difference, I am tempted to risk the hypothesis that, perhaps, the same logic of zero-institution should be applied not only to the unity of a society, but also to its antagonistic split: what if sexual difference is ultimately a kind of zero-institution of the social split of the humankind, the naturalized minimal zero-difference, a split that, prior to signalling any determinate social difference, signals this difference as such? The struggle for hegemony is then, again, the struggle for how this zero-difference will be overdetermined by other particular social differences. It is against this background that one should read an important, although usually overlooked, feature of Lacan's schema of the signifier: Lacan replaces the standard Saussurean scheme (above the bar the word "arbre," and beneath it the drawing of a tree) with, above the bar, two words one along the other, "homme" and "femme," and, beneath the bar, two identical drawings of a door. In order to emphasize the differential character of the signifier, Lacan first replaces Saussure's single scheme with a signifier's couple, with the opposition man/woman, with the sexual difference; but the true surprise resides in the fact that, at the level of the imaginary referent, THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE (we do not get some graphic index of the sexual difference, the simplified drawing of a man and a woman, as is usually the case in most of today's restrooms, but THE SAME door reproduced twice). Is it possible to state in clearer terms that sexual difference does not designate any biological opposition grounded in "real" properties, but a purely symbolic opposition to which nothing corresponds in the designated objects — nothing but the Real of some undefined X which cannot ever be captured by the image of the signified?
-Slavoj Zizek, "The Matrix, or Two Sides of Perversion"
In Chapter 5 of the "The Ticklish Subject" Zizek writes "Why Perversion is Not Subversion." By referring to Freud and Lacan, he states that "hysteria and perversion - not perversion - offer a way into the Unconscious." Zizek says that hysteria is much more threatening to the hegemony (247) and provokes the "Master ambiguously" and that it includes doubts and questions. Whereas perversion is socially constructed (247) and undermines the Master’s position (247). It is just an “Acting out” – an "Ersatzhandlung," if you will.

One of Zizek's political examples to prove his point is national identity – e.g. Anti-colonialist national liberation movements: These movements, he claims, were only possible through the introduction of the “Nation” as a concept by the Western colonizers. While in pre-colonial times these communities had a self-enclosed ethnic awareness, now after oppression/colonization they urge to create an own nation-state and discriminate from other ethnicities. Strictly speaking, this would not be an hysteric action, it is the pervert's action, it is provoking the master (colonizer). In fact it can only happen because of the master.

This is an example that perversion is not subversion, since the “Anti-colonialist national liberation” movement does not offer an entry into the unconscious, it does not "change" things in the deeper level. The national identity is a (necessary) side-effect of colonialism.

By using the psychoanalytic definitions of hysteria and perversion, Žižek enters his political criticism of other theorists. He uses his argument to question political theories of power. At the end, he does not offer a concrete solution, but has established himself in the hysteric position, I believe. He is the one posing questions! And by criticizing other "masters," or "wannabe master narratives of theoreticians" he is not being a pervert, since he does not take the opposite position, but questions them and displays their weaknesses. He provokes "the master ambiguously." And by master, I am referring to prevailing theoreticians of late 20th century. Žižek is the hysteric "threatening the hegemony."
Source: Slavoj Zizek. "The Ticklish Subject." London and New York: Verso, 2000: (247-257).

The Position of the "Analyst" is not one of Pervert v. Hysteric, but one of University v. Analyst Discourse. The University, however, serves the Master. The Analyst, his "hysterical" subject.

No comments:

Post a Comment