Abjection Explained The term abjection literally means "the state of being cast off". The term has been explored in post-structuralism as that which inherently disturbs conventional identity and cultural concepts. The concept of abjection builds on the traditional psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan. It is important to note, however, that Kristeva created a distinction in the true meaning of abjection: it is not the lack of "cleanliness or health" that causes abjection, but that which disturbs identity, system, and order.
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Abjection Explained The term abjection literally means "the state of being cast off". The term has been explored in post-structuralism as that which inherently disturbs conventional identity and cultural concepts.
The concept of abjection builds on the traditional psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan. It is important to note, however, that Kristeva created a distinction in the true meaning of abjection: it is not the lack of "cleanliness or health" that causes abjection, but that which disturbs identity, system, and order.
We must abject the maternal, the object which has created us, in order to construct an identity. We use ritual s, specifically those of defilement, to attempt to maintain clear boundaries between nature and society, the semiotic and the symbolic, paradoxically both excluding and renewing contact with the abject in the ritual act.
From a deconstruction of sexual discourses and gender history Ian McCormick has outlined the recurring links between pleasurable transgressive desire, deviant categories of behaviour and responses to body fluids in 18th and 19th-century discussions of prostitution, sodomy, and masturbation self-pollution, impurity, uncleanness.
In organizational studies Organizational theory literature on abjection has attempted to illuminate various ways in which institutions come to silence, exclude or disavow feelings, practices, groups or discourses within the workplace.
Studies have examined and demonstrated the manner in which people adopt roles, identities and discourses to avoid the consequences of social and organizational abjection. Both the organizational and interpersonal levels produce a series of exclusionary practices that create a "zone of inhabitability" for staff perceived to be in opposition to the organizational norms.
One such method is that of "collective instruction," which refers to a strategy often used to defer, render abject and hide the inconvenient "dark side" of the organization, keeping it away from view through corporate forces. This spun meaning developed by the firm becomes shared throughout a community. That event or circumstance comes to be interpreted and viewed in a singular way by many people, creating a unified, accepted meaning. The purpose such strategies serve is to identify and attempt to control the abject, as the abject ideas become ejected from each individual memory.
Organizations such as hospitals must negotiate the divide between the symbolic and the semiotic in a unique manner. They are faced with the reality of death and suffering in a way not typically experienced by hospital administrators and leaders. Nurses must learn to separate themselves and their emotional states from the circumstances of death, dying and suffering they are surrounded by.
Very strict rituals and power structures are used in hospitals, which suggests that the dynamics of abjection have a role to play in understanding not only how anxiety becomes the work of the health team and the organization, but also how it is enacted at the level of hospital policy.
Kristeva used this concept to analyze xenophobia and anti-Semitism, and was therefore the first to apply the abject to cultural analysis. Exploration has also been done into the way people look at others whose bodies may look different from the norm due to illness, injury or birth defect.
Researchers such as Frances  emphasize the importance of the interpersonal consequences that result from this looking. A person with a disability, by being similar to us and also different, is the person by whom the abject exists and people who view this individual react to that abjection by either attempting to ignore and reject it, or by attempting to engage and immerse themselves in it.
In this particular instance, Frances claims, the former manifests through the refusal to make eye contact or acknowledge the presence of the personal with a disability, while the latter manifests through intrusive staring. In psychotherapy By bringing focus onto concepts such as abjection, psychotherapists may allow for the exploration of links between lived experience and cultural formations in the development of particular psychopathologies. Bruan Seu demonstrated the critical importance of bringing together Foucauldian ideas of self-surveillance and positioning in discourse with a psychodynamic theorization in order to grasp the full significance of psychological impactors, such as shame.
Parker noted that individuals suffering from BDD are sensitive to the power, pleasure and pain of being looked at, as their objective sense of self dominates any subjective sense. The role of the other has become increasingly significant to developmental theories in contemporary psychoanalysis, and is very evident in body image as it is formed through identification, projection and introjection.
Those individuals with BDD consider a part of their body unattractive or unwanted, and this belief is exacerbated by shame and the impression that others notice and negatively perceive the supposed physical flaw, which creates a cycle. Over time, the person with BDD begins to view that part of their body as being separate from themselves, a rogue body partit has been abjected.
Abject, here, refers to marginally objectionable material that does not quite belong in the greater society as a wholewhether this not-belonging is real or imagined is irrelevant, only that it is perceived.
Studying abjection has proven to be suggestive and helpful for considering the dynamics of self and body hatred. In art The roots of abject art go back a long way. The Tate defines abject art as that which "explore themes that transgress and threaten our sense of cleanliness and propriety, particularly referencing the body and bodily functions. The group used animal carcasses and bloodshed in a ritualistic way. Nitsch served time in jail for blasphemy before being invited to New York in by Jonas Mekas.
Nitsch organised a series of performances which influenced the radical New York art scene. Other members of the Viennese Actionists, Gunter Brus , who began as a painter, and Otto Muehl collaborated on performances.
The performances of Gunter Brus involved publicly urinating, defecating and cutting himself with a razor blade. Rudolf Schwarzkogler is known for his photos dealing with the abject. In the late s, performance art become popular in New York, including by Carolee Schneemann. Mary Kelly , Genesis P. Orridge and GG Allin did this type of art. Kristeva herself associated aesthetic experience of the abject, such as art and literature, with poetic catharsisan impure process that allows the artist or author to protect themselves from the abject only by immersing themselves within it.
Damaged or unusual bodies: Staring, or seeing and feeling. Body, Movement and Dance in Psychotherapy. Book: Guberman, R.
Julia Kristeva interviews.. Columbia University Press. New York. Book: Kristeva, J.. Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. Book: Oliver, K.. Psychoanalysis, aesthetics, and politics in the work of Kristeva. Rizq, R.. States of abjection. Organization Studies.
Revolting subjects: Social abjection and resistance in neoliberal Britain. European Journal of Communication. Book: Gross , Elizabeth. The Body of Signification. Fear of Intimacy? Psychoanalysis and the Resistance to Commodification. State University of New York Press. Kristeva, "Powers of Horror", p. Gene A. Gelder K. After the celebration: Australian fiction — Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, Australian Literary Studies. Sexual Outcasts.
Book: Salih. Judth Butler. Kenny ; Bulter ; cited in Risque, "States of Abjection" , p. Sorenson, "Changing the memory of suffering: An organizational aesthetics on the dark side" , p. Risq, "States of Abjection" , p. Oliver, "Psychoanalysis, aesthetics, and politics in the work of Kristeva" Critical looks: An analysis of body dysmorphic disorder.
Rozsika Parker. British Journal of Psychotherapy. Web site: Abject Art. Foster, Hal. Kristeva, "Powers of Horror" , p. Because it sure as hell scared me! It uses material from the Wikipedia article " Abjection ".
Julia Kristeva and Abjection
It is important to note, however, that Kristeva created a distinction in the true meaning of abjection: "It is thus not the lack of cleanliness or health that causes abjection but what disturbs identity, system, and order. What does not respect borders, positions, rules. The in-between, the ambiguous, the composite". We must abject the maternal, the object which has created us, in order to construct an identity.
Friday, February 16, Summary of "Approaching Abjection" by Kristeva There is a great deal going on in this essay, so I will attempt to describe the general project and some of its most compelling points. That said, there seems to be a consistent project taking place. As mentioned, the abject is the pivotal concept, and Kristeva offers a number of perspectives on it. In attempting to understand this concept for myself, I made a rough sketch of its characteristics: -the abject is a violent revolt of being that repulses desire.