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GET: The Psychic Life of Power: Theories in Subjection**

READ: Select a Chapter to Moderate*

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*Table of Contents Introduction :REQUIRED READING

1 Stubborn Attachment, Bodily Subjection Rereading Hegel on the Unhappy Consciousness

SIZE QUEEN: 31pp no pictures either!

"The transition in _The Phenomenology of Spirit_ from the section "Lordship and Bondage" to "The Freedom of Self Consciousness: Stoicism, Skepticism, and the Unhappy Consciousness" is one of the least interrogated of Hegel's philosophical movements, perhaps because the chapter on lordship and bondage secured a liberationist narrative for various progressive political visions, most readers have neglected to pay attention to the resolution of freedom into self-enslavement at the end of the chapter. Insofar as recent theory has called into question both the assumption of a progressive history and the status of the subject, the dystopic resolution of "Lordship and Bondage" has perhaps regained at timely significance."

2 Circuits of Bad Conscience Nietzsche and Freud

SIZE QUEENS: 21 pages

"Nietzsche offers a view of conscience as a mental activity that not only forms various psychic phenomena, but is itself formed, the consequence of a distinctive kind of internalization. In Nietzsche, who distinguishes conscience from bad conscience, the will is said to turn back upon itself. But what are we to make of the strange locution; how are we being asked to imagine a will such that it recoils and redoubles upon itself; and this figure being offered as a way to articulate the kind of reflexivity central tot he operation of bad conscience...."

3 Subjection, Resistance, Resignification Between Freud and Foucault


"Consider, in_Discipline and Punish_, the paradoxical character of what Foucault describes as the subjectivation of the prisoner. The term"subjectivation" carries the paradox in itself: assujetissement denotes both the becoming of the subject and the process of subjection--one inhabits the figure of autonomy only by becoming subjected to a power, a subjection which implies a radical dependency. For Foucault, this process of subjectivation takes place centrally through the body. ...The claim that discourse "forms" the body is no simple one, and from the start we must distinguish how such "forming" is not the same as a "causing or "determining," still less is it a notion that bodies are somehow made of discourse pure and simple."

4 "Conscience Doth Make Subjects of Us All" Althusser's Subjection


Althusser's doctrine of interpellation continues to structure contemporary debate on subject formation, offering a way to account for a subject who comes into being as a consequence of language, yet always within its terms.

The theory of interpellation appears to stage a social scene in which a subject is hailed, the subject turns around, and the subject then accepts the terms by which he or she is hailed. This is a scene both punitive and reduced, for the call is made by an officer of "the Law," and this officer is cast as a singular and speaking. Clearly we might object that the 'call' arrives severally and in implicit and unspoken ways, that the scene is never quite as dyadic as Althusser claims, but these objections have been rehearsed, and "interpellation" as a doctrine continues to survive its critique. If we accept that the scene is exemplary and allegorical then it never needs to happen for its effectivity to be presumed....The call itself is also figured as a demand to align oneself with the law, a turning around...and an entrance into the language of self-ascription--"Here I am"--through the appropriation of guilt."

5 Melancholy Gender/Refused Identification


It may at first seem strange to think of gender as a kind of melancholy, or as one of melancholy's effects. But let us remember that in _The Ego and the Id_ Freud himself acknowledged that melancholy, the unfinished process of grieving, is central to the formation of the identification that forms the ego. Indeed, identifications formed from unfinished grief are the modes in which the lost object is incorporated and phantasmatically preserved in and as the ego. Consider in conjunction with this insight Freud's remark that "the ego is first and foremost a bodily ego," not merely a surface, but "the projection of a surface." Further, this bodily ego assumes a gendered morphology, so that the bodily ego is also a gendered ego. I hope first to explain the sense in which a melancholic identification is central to the process whereby the ego assumes a gendered character. Second, I want to explore how this analysis of the melancholic formation of gender sheds light on the predicament of living within a culture which can mourn the loss of homosexual attachment only with great difficulty."

Keeping It Moving Commentary on Judith Butler Adam Phillips Reply to Adam Phillips

6 Psychic Inceptions Melancholy, Ambivalence, Rage


"In 'Mourning and Melancholia," melancholy at first appears to be an aberrant form of mourning, in which one denies the loss of an object [an other or an ideal] and refuses the task of grief, understood as breaking attachment tot he one who is lost. This lost object is magically retained as part of one's psychic life. The social world appears to be eclipsed in melancholy, and an internal world structured in ambivalence emerges as the consequence. It is not immediately clear ho melancholy might be read, then, in terms of social life, in particular, in terms of the social regulation of psychic life. yet the account of melancholy is an account of how psychic and social domains are produced in relation to one another. As such, melancholy offers potential insight into how the boundaries of the social are instituted and maintained, not only at the expense of psychic, but through binding psychic life into forms of melancholic ambivalence."

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The Psychic Life of Power; Theories in Subjection Author: Judith P. Butler Format: Trade Paperback Publication Date: June 1997 ISBN: 0804728127 List Price: $14.95 WA $11.06 USPS (5-14) $2.44

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