Monday, 7 November 2011

Notes from: An Introduction Guide to Post - Structuralism and Post Modernism by Madan Sarup

Sarup Madan, (1993), An Introduction Guide to Post -Structuralism and Post Modernism 2nd Edition, Hampshire, Ashford Colour Press LTD

1. Lacan and Psychoanalysis

  • Lacan's theory believes in unconscious in hidden structure resembles that of language
  • "Language is the precondition for the act of becoming aware of oneself as a distinct entity". (Sarup, 1993: 8)
  • Articulation of the 'I' is what Lacan calls the 'mirror stage' - the dialectic between alienation and subjectivity
  • Lacan's Child theory
  1. Desires contact with mother and to be complement of what she lacks = the phallus
  2. Father intervenes, deprives child of desire object and deprives mother of phallic object
  3. Identification with the father, reinstates phallus as object of mother's desire
  4. Father castrates child by separating from mother, debt paid so child can completely become one's self
  • Lacan argues language as idea of unconscious rises something appearing different to what is actually being said
  • human subject needs language but subject can not be reduced to language
  • he insists that we are immersed in everyday language and can not get out or escape from it
  • never to gain stable image, always possibility of misinterpretation
  • Lacan believes that the desire to dream is to communicate, he doesn't believe in analysing it as this is another 'alienation'
  • Lacan talks of subject entering symbolic order 'language' passing through a network and transforming to become impossible to satisfy
2. Derrida and Deconstruction

  • Derrida concept 'sous rature' translates to 'under erasure' and means to write a word, cross it out, and print both word and deletion
  • a word inadequate, it is then crossed out
  • Derrida view of language: Signifier is not directly related to the signified
  • structure of sign determined by the trace that is forever absent, foot print
  • "Meaning is never identical with itself, because a sign appears in different context it is never absolutely the same ... the signified will be altered by the various chains of signifiers in which it is entangled. (Sarup 1993: 34)
  • Derrida created deconstruction - text that seems to fail by it's own criteria
  • 'metaphysics of presence'
  • we rely on the present perceptual world as we are experiencing it
  • Derrida uses term 'logo centric' as subsitute for metaphysics
  • metaphor - is important to being realised that language doesn't just reflect reality but helps to consitute it
  • 'language as 'physical combat' - two sided argument
  • reading texts resemble 'x-raying pictures which discovers a hidden layer within
  • Derrida provided method of 'close reading' which breaks through text's defences and shows binary oppositions are found inscribed within it
  • deconstruction - problematic that sees meaning itself as terroristic
3. Foucault and the Social Sciences

  • Foucault allows discontinuity to remain unexplained
  • believes that literary text allows 'otherness' to speak
  • Madness - 'a social problem?'
  • Foucault's book describes asylums as not a place to lock up mad people but possessing a certain freedom
  • "Human beings have been released from the physical chains, but these have been replaced by mental ones." (Sarup, 1993: 63)
  • Later work focussed on Foucault to talk of 'apparatuses' containing strategies of relations of forces supporting and supported by types of knowledge
  • Foucault argues that knowledge is power over others
  • Foucault's primary goal - provide critique way modern societies control and displine their populations by controlling knowledge practises of human sciences
  • Understand a subject as a locus of multiple, dispersed or decentred discourses
  • "Foucault felt power was necessary for production of knowledge and is an inherent feature of all social relationships.

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