Posted by Matt McCloud on April 16, 1997 at 11:34:52:
In Reply to: psychoanalysis and repression management (Althusser) posted by Martin Tupper on October 10, 1996 at 11:05:25:
: : Perhaps the use of the term "determinism" is not very precise. However, any model of the "subject" is necessarily deterministic. Recall Althusser's characterization of the transformation from the individual to the subject. To posit the individual as subject, is to designate she/he as a site of a multiplicity of often competing or contradictory forces. The question, of course, is what degree of reflection does the model allow? Thus we can redirect your question concerning psychoanalysis to one of "repression management."
: I just happened to read Althusser's "L'avenir dure longtemps" which is a very problematic book. But the most striking aspect in it is the fact that Althusser himself couldn't talk about anything else but psychoanalysis in his book. He intended to do an auto-analysis and tried to link even his philosophical and political concepts in a rather embarrassing way to a rhetoric of watered down shrink practices. Of course, he had to justify his special fait accompli: the death of a subject: his wife, as you know he killed
: I don't know whether this book is already available in English.
: Determinism and subjectivity can take on again a complete different meaning, and precisely if we take Althusser's own biography into account....
I think it is out of the heterogeneous space of contradictory determinations (ideologies) that the "subject" can gain some measure of self-determination. What I mean by this, is that, the symbolic order has, as Zizek remarks, numerous "fissures" in it. I take this to mean -- not necessarily as he means it -- that the symbolic order is primarily composed of contradictory discourses which the Master Signifier is only partially able to thread together via the subject. In the plurality of ideologies, the subject can never create new ideologies, but she
can work with existing ones, to generate a sort of ironic freedom, which in its positivity, takes the form of "play."
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