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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

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This is something that we experience when watching a horror film, for instance, and is discussed further in Chapter 6. Continuing with this line of thought, abjection, unlike disgust, involves fear because of the threat to the sense of self, a feature that is not part of the rhetoric of disgust. This is the mark of difference between the two concepts. Abjection involves the need for the self/subject to eradicate that which prevents the subject from being autonomous. As Hal Foster puts it: the abject is what I must get rid of in order to be an I .

The infant experiences the world in rhythms and movements, and registers vocalizations and tones in its environment which correlate with Unpacking Abjection 21 bodily drives. Through the various stages of development, the infant begins to develop borders through the process of rejection and expulsion, and wrestles against the ‘mother’s engulfing embrace’ (McAfee, 2004, p. 46). This enables a sense of growing autonomy where distinctions can be made as to what lies outside the self (such as the waste products of the mother) and the maintenance of a clean and proper body.

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.

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