Shame and Sexuality: Psychoanalysis and Visual Culture, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Shame and Sexuality

Psychoanalysis and Visual Culture, 1st Edition

Edited by Claire Pajaczkowska, Ivan Ward


262 pages | 18 B/W Illus.

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Why do human beings feel shame? What is the cultural dimension of shame and sexuality? Can theory understand the power of affect? How is psychoanalysis integral to cultural theory?

The experience of shame is a profound, painful and universal emotion with lasting effects on many aspects of public life and human culture. Rooted in childhood experience, linked to sexuality and the cultural norms which regulate the body and its pleasures, shame is uniquely human. Shame and Sexuality explores elements of shame in human psychology and the cultures of art, film, photography and textiles.

This volume is divided into two distinct sections allowing the reader to compare and contrast the psychoanalytic and the cultural writings. Part I, Psychoanalysis, provides a psychoanalytic approach to shame, using clinical examples to explore the function of unconscious fantasies, the shame shield in child sexual abuse, and the puzzling manner in which shame attaches itself to sexuality. Part II, Visual Culture, is illustrated throughout with textual analysis; contributors explore shame and sexuality in art history, politics and contemporary visual culture, including the gendering of shame, shame and abjection, and the relationship between shame and shamelessness as a strategy of resistance.

Claire Pajaczkowska and Ivan Ward bring together debates within and between the discourses of psychoanalysis and visual culture, generating new avenues of enquiry for scholars of culture, theory and psychoanalysis.


"…a moving and evocative book…The whole read is aesthetically pleasing…It is exciting and unusual…Every writer in this book…will reward the reader with arrestingly vivid moments, fresh angles on old themes, and new lenses through which to see the hidden… I loved their book. They have utterly accomplished all they sought to do…it will allow readers a deep and thorough grasp of the many dimensions of sexuality and the all-important affective phenomenon of shame." - Rosemary H. Balsam, Journal fo the American Psychoanalytic Association

Table of Contents

Pajaczkowska, Ward, Introduction: Shame, Sexuality and Visual Culture. Part I: Psychoanalysis. Mollon, The Inherent Shame of Sexuality. Yorke, A Psychoanalytic Approach to the Understanding of Shame. Rizzuto, Shame in Psychoanalysis: The Function of Unconscious Fantasies. Campbell, The Shame Shield in Child Sexual Abuse. Pines, Shame: What Psychoanalysis Does and Does Not Say. Part II: Visual Culture. Pollock, The Visual Poetics of Shame: A Feminist Reading of Freud's Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905). Pajaczkowska, The Garden of Eden: Sex, Shame and Knowledge. Siopis, Shame in Three Parts at the Freud Museum. Khanna, Fabric, Skin, Honte-ologie. Malik, Shame, Disgust and Idealization in Kara Walker's Gone a Historical Romance of a Civil War as it Occurred Between the Dusky Thighs of One Young Negress and Her Heart (1994). Barnett, Stain. Biernoff, Shame, Disgust and the Historiography of War.

About the Editors

Claire Pajaczkowska is Reader in Psychoanalysis and Visual Culture at the School of Arts and Education, Middlesex University, London.

Ivan Ward is Director of Learning at the Freud Museum, London.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Psychoanalysis
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health