Ethical slippages, shattered horizons, and the zebra striping of the unconscious: Fanon on social, bodily, and psychical space

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Abstract:

While Sigmund Freud and Maurice Merleau-Ponty both acknowledge the role that spatiality plays in human life, neither pays any explicit attention to the intersections of race and space. It is Franz Fanon who uses psychoanalysis and phenomenology to provide an account of how the psychical and lived bodily existence of black people is racially constituted by a racist world. More precisely, as I argue in this paper, Fanon's work demonstrates how psychical and bodily spatiality cannot be adequately understood apart from the environing space of the social world. For Fanon, body, psyche, and world mutually influence and constitute each other. In a raced and racist world, therefore, the lived bodily experience and the unconscious of human beings will be racially and racist-ly constituted as well. This will show you how in psychoanalysis we take spatial ways of looking at things seriously. Sigmund Freud Everything throws us back on to the organic relations between subject and space, to that gearing of the subject onto his world which is the origin of space. Maurice Merleau-Ponty Hence we are driven from the individual back to the social structure. If there is a [neurotic] taint, it lies not in the "soul" of the individual but rather in that of the environment. Franz Fanon

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1090377042000195994

Affiliations: Department of Philosophy Pennsylvania State University University Park PA USA

Publication date: February 1, 2004

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