Examining Julia Kristeva's contention that contemporary Western society is witnessing a crisis of subjectivity due to the failure of the paternal function, Gambaudo places Kristeva's thesis within the context of Freudian psychoanalytic thought and shows how Kristeva defends her position against a cultural climate privileging scientific and cognitive answers to aesthetic concerns. Gambaudo argues that while Kristeva's position might be construed as defensive and a reactive clinging on to paternal modes of organisation of subjectivity, it also offers a unique and visionary analysis of subjectivity that rescues the paternal project from its decline. Eschewing a traditional emphasis on Kristeva's feminism, this book's primary interest is located at the intersection between psychoanalysis and culture, specifically analysing the superseding of Oedipus by narcissistic organisation.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; Kristeva, psychoanalysis and culture: an overview; The genesis of the subject: the paternal function; The failure of the paternal function; Reassignment of the paternal function to the maternal; The maternal; Narcissism; Narcissus; Narcissistic society; Bibliography; Index.
Sylvie Gambaudo is Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy, Durham University, UK.
’Significantly, Gambaudo does the groundwork by which contemporary presumptions about psychoanalysis and its place in cultural criticism might be rethought.’ The Bible & Critical Theory ’... there is no doubt Gambaudo's book represents a thorough, scholarly engagement with Kristeva's work, asserting the value of deep psychoanalytic insights into contemporary forms of culture, and the political implications of such insights. It is an important contribution and corrective to readings of Kristeva, but it is also provocative and politically timely in its own right.’ Hypatia