ENDNOTES FOR CHAPTER FOUR
1. In contrast, paternal ambivalence seems to be an acceptable and even expected reaction of fathers to their children, women and each other. Adam Jukes’ book Why Hen Hate Women (1993) accounts for the phallocentric hatred of women by arguing that men never surmount their infantile rage at lost unity with the mother, and blame her for this. The sense of mother as ultimately enticing and yet unreachable, combined with the sanctioning of this phantasy via the Law of the Father, upheld by the Oedipus complex, accounts for the psychological rigidity encountered by women who try to change or challenge the sexism in their male colleagues, partners, fathers, children. Jukes writes,
... the primal gap between the unitarian and differentiated self is the one into which femininity has ‘fallen’, and into which men have ultimately placed Mother... This ‘gap’ is an essential condition of personhood. It is not fanciful to believe that it is made flesh by the division of the sexes. In the male psyche, woman lies on the other side of the gap, tantalizingly within reach yet utterly unreachable... The universal experience of the loss of paradise, infantile narcissism or whatever, led men to construct femininity as we know it, and with the hope that this loss could be assuaged and even completely negated... As a consequence, women go n being the victims of the anger and rage which derive from the unfulfillable expectation of satisfied desire (pp. 312-314).
Throughout this study there is a conspicuous neglect of the effect of primitive, uncontained paternal ambivalence on male children who go on to violently abuse women. The focus of the writers attention and urge for control lies with women. In fact he argues that there is little women can do to change this situation described in the quotation above, apart from becoming separatist lesbians. The likely tyrannical influence of the father on his male children remains unexamined, except as the role model oppressor of mother/woman and upholder of Oedipal Law. The focus of the writer’s analysis is upon mother’s inability to meet her little boy’s most primitive needs (admittedly through no fault of her own), rather than upon father’s absence, or wilful neglect to protect and contain his little boy, which must also give the little boy very important messages about what it means to be masculine in our society.
It seems that Jukes encounters the Oedipal blind spot when he attempts to confront the Law of the Father head on, which is the dangerous acceptability of primitive paternal ambivalence towards, and widespread paternal neglect and/or abuse of children. Jukes implicitly accepts it as if this is an essential state of the nature of male dominance, although this aspect of the Law does nothing but damage to either gender. My point would be that the damage meted out in this way seems to be dealt with differently by each gender, rather than freeing the little boy from the painful grip of what is a continuing and conscious experience of a tyrannical paternal ambivalence. The effects of the acting-out of paranoid-schizoid dynamics between neglectful, absent or abusive fathers and male children thus remain invisible have used the temporal distinctions made by Julia Kristeva in her essay ‘Women’s Time’(1979). She writes:
As for time, female subjectivity would seem to provide a specific measure that essentially retains repetition and eternity from among the multiple modalities of time known through the history of civilisations, On the one hand there are cycles, gestation, the eternal recurrence of a biological rhythm which conforms to that of nature and imposes a temporality whose stereotyping may shock ... On the other hand... there is... a monumental temporality,
without cleavage or escape... these two types of temporality [cyclical and monumental] are traditionally linked to female subjectivity... insofar as the latter is thought of as necessarily maternal... this repetition and this eternity are found to be the fundamental... conceptions of time in numerous civilisations and experiences, particularly mystical ones (Kristeva, 1979, quoted in Humm, ed. 1992, pp. 216-217).
Further on in this chapter I pick up her latter point about the resonance of women’s time with mystical space-time, which I suggest indicates that the archaic-maternal and the Supreme Being partake of a common existential register.
3. For a full account of Irigaray’s position in her own terms read Speculum of the Other Woman (1974). The following quote is a sample of the kind of textual play I have been trying to describe, which constitutes her philosophical method of critique and is thoroughly unique to Irigaray, inimitable in style. She writes :
As for woman, one may wonder why she submits so readily to this make-believe, why she ‘mimics’ so perfectly as to forget she is acting-out man’s contraphobic projects, projections and productions of her desire... What fault, deficiency, theft, rape, rejection, repression, censorship of representations of her sexuality bring about such a subjection to man’s desire- discourse-law about her sex? Such an atrophy of her libido (1974, p. 53, my italics)?
Irigaray’s comments on female sexuality and subjectivity, as a mimetic reaction formation to, phallic disavowal directly spawned the autonomous feminist project.
4. During this study I am contending that transference phenomena are triggered by all intersubjective relationships in adult life, but that it is only during psychotherapy or psychoanalysis that one becomes conscious of transference. It seems to me that transference phenomena constitute the currency of erotic ties in particular, and that the process of , falling in love’ is a process of return, of falling into a narcissistic psychic space, when the ‘unitarian and differentiated self’ (Juke; see n.l above) were difficult to distinguish. This is why romantic eros can be so deceptive, as at this stage one is falling back into infantile phantasy of unity with the idealised parent of infancy. This is especially dangerous if idealisation was used to defend against separation from a carer in order to defend against parental neglect and/or abuse. Idealisation is then likely to serve the same function of denying separateness, and disguising neglectful/abusive partners in adult life.
5. The manic defences need further defining. Typically these are defences against depressive pain and anxiety, which aim to deny psychic reality by idealising and incorporating objects in order to master pain, at the same time as denying any dependency on them or concern for them. Klein wrote ‘This disparagement of the object’s importance and the contempt of it is,
think, a specific characteristic of mania’ ( Klein, 1935, p. 278). Hinshelwood sums the function of these defences up as follows : ‘These defences protect the subject from experiencing the painful consequences of dependence on good loved objects and the painful consequences of such dependence’ (1989, p, 345).
However these manic defences lead to manic reparation of the disparaged object, a form of reparation felt to be a form of triumph over, rather than concern for the object. This leads to the object once again becoming dangerous persecutor such that ‘the benign circle started by this act becomes broken’ (Klein, 1940, p. 351).
I am suggesting that such defences against humanity’s relationship to nature are involved in the omnipotent aims of the positivist scientific method. It seems to me that Heidegger’s work on technocratic nihilism points towards the unsustainable process of manic reparation at the heart of such a cultural formation.
6. Foucault uses the term ‘archaeology’ to denote a method of historical analysis concerned with the , unearthing’ of ‘epistemes’. Epistemes are the conceptual strata underpinning various fields of knowledge forming the different epochs of Western thought- or in Foucault’s own words, an episteme is an ...historical a priori, (which)... in a given period, delimits in the totality of experience a field of knowledge, defines the mode of being of the objects that appear in that field, provides everyday perception with theoretical powers, and defines the conditions in which one can sustain a discourse about things which is recognised to be true (1970, p- 22).
To understand this definition of the episteme, one also needs to understand exactly what is meant by the term ‘discourse’. Examples of discursive formations which Foucault subjected to historical analysis included psychopathology, penology and sexuality. A discursive formation refers to a culturally specific, seemingly self-regulating group of statements, and it is the conditions governing the production of these statements, together with the relationships between different discursive formations, which Foucault is out to discover. For Foucault, a statement is
... a particular vacant place that may in fact be filled by different individuals; but, instead of being defined once and for all and maintaining itself throughout a text, a book or an oeuvre, this place varies- or rather it is variable enough to be able to either persevere, unchanging, through several sentences, or to alter with each one ... To describe a formation qua statement does not consist in analysing the relations between the author and what he says; but in determining what position can and must be occupied by any individual if he is to be the subject of it (1972, pp. 95-96).
Foucault uses a further three terms which he understands as conditions of the production of statements, which when bound together in terms of cultural codes form a discourse. These terms need further definition; they are the ‘positivity’ of a discourse, its ‘historical a priori’ and its , archive’ . The positivity of a discourse is that which characterises its unity through a specific period of time, which enables us to locate the be both work of authors on the same terrain, by understanding that they are talking about the same thing. The historical a priori of a discourse comprises of the necessary antecedents or pre-conditions which enable such a positivity to emerge, and as such is a condition of the reality of statements, It may defined as the rules inherent in the operation of the discourse. The system of statements to which the interaction of the positivity and the historical a priori give rise, is known as the archive, To summarise, a discourse can be defined as a temporally bound, apparently unified system of statements, regulated by culturally specific codes or rules which are a necessary condition of its emergence, and inherent in its operation.
The archaeological project employs four methodological principles which distinguish it from other branches of history. They concern the attribution of innovation, the analysis of contradictions, comparative descriptions and the mapping of transformations. The Archaeology of Knowledge is a study of the theoretical problems posed by the use of such concepts as discontinuity, rupture, threshold, limit, series and transformation in the history of ideas. By examining the discursive practices of medicine and political economy, Foucault concludes that these large groups of statements form an apparent unity which is in fact illusory. What he uncovers in his analysis are interplays of difference, systems of gaps, distances, substitutions , transformations, which he came to label ‘systems of dispersion’ . These systems of dispersion he called ‘discursive formations’. This term is preferred over other terms such as ‘science’, ‘discipline’ or ‘theory’ for its neutrality .
At this point Foucault’s project, can most simply be defined as a comparison of discursive practices with each other, and with what he termed the non-discursive practices ( such as institutions, political events, economic and social processes) surrounding them. The scope of the archeological project crosses the science/ non-science barrier, with Foucault arguing that no discourse is free of ideology or completely determined by it. In the dialogue with which the book The Archaeology of Knowledge ends, Foucault asks his imaginary opponent :
What is that fear which makes you reply in terms of consciousness when someone talks to you about a practice, its conditions, its rules and its historical transformations ? What is that fear that, makes you see, beyond all boundaries, ruptures, shifts and divisions, the great historico-transcendental destiny of the West (1972, pp. 209- 210)?
He answers his own question on a politically prophetic note: ‘It seems that the only reply to that is a political one. But let us leave that to one side for today. Perhaps we will take it up again soon in another way’ (1972, p.210).
7 . The common existential register I am referring to is the state of primary narcissism experienced by the infant before she encounters separation with the mother. In adult life this state may return, as the repressed, semiotic state of fusion with the ‘part-object’, or abject self-yet-not-self as Kristeva (1984) would have us define it. Klein did away with the Freudian stage of development called primary narcissism, and distinguished instead between narcissistic ‘states’ and their relation to internal objects. However this state of being-in-the-world is theorised or defined, it seems sensible to propose that phantasy states of fusion of what-is-self with what-is-not-self recall the earliest state of existential fusion with the mother’s body, and what Freud called the blissful ‘oceanic feeling’ associated with it.