Sexuation: SIC 3 / Edition 1

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Contemporary discourse seems to provide a choice in the way sexual identities and sexual difference are described and analyzed. On the one hand, much current thinking suggests that sexual identity is fluid—socially constructed and/or performatively enacted. This discourse is often invoked in the act of overcoming an earlier patriarchal era of fixed and naturalized identities. On the other hand, some modern discourses of sexual identity seem to offer a New Age Jungian re-sexualization of the universe—"Men are from Mars, and women are from Venus"—according to which there is an underlying, deeply anchored archetypal identity that provides a kind of safe haven in the contemporary confusion of roles and identities.

In this volume, contributors discuss a third way of thinking about sexual identity and sexual difference—a direction opened by Jacques Lacan. For Lacan, what we all recognize as sexual difference is first and foremost representative of a certain fundamental deadlock inherent in the symbolic order, that is, in language and in the entire realm of culture conceived as a symbol system structured on the model of language. For him, the logical matrix of this deadlock is provided by his own formulas of sexuation. The essays collected here elaborate on different aspects of this deadlock of sexual difference. While some examine the role of semblances in the relation between the sexes or consider sexual identity not as anatomy but still involving an impasse of the real, others discuss the difference between sexuation and identification, the role of symbolic prohibition in the process of the subject’s sexual formation, or the changed role of the father in contemporary society and the impact of this change on sexual difference. Other essays address such topics as the role of beating in sexual fantasies and jouissance in feminine jealousy.

Contributors. Alain Badiou, Elizabeth Bronfen, Darian Leader, Jacques Alain Miller, Genevieve Morel, Renata Salecl, Eric L. Santner, Colette Soler, Paul Verhaeghe, Slavoj Žižek, Alenka Zupancic

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Many of today’s leading Lacanians—practicing psychoanalysts as well as cultural theorists—here puzzle out the new riddles of sexuality. Does Lacan’s concept of ‘sexuation’ really answer to feminist and queer discourses on sex and gender, sexual identity, sexual orientation, performativity? These provocative essays will begin the debate.”—John Brenkman, author of Straight Male Modern: A Cultural Critique of Psychoanalysis

“Sex or gender? This false alternative, which has long befuddled the theorization of femininity and sexual difference, is exploded by this excellent collection. Relying on Lacan's eventful revision of Freud, the essays analyze various aspects and implications of the a-biological, a-constructivist process of "sexuation" by which the subject emerges, embodied and sexed, from its encounter with the Other. A bonfire of a book whose strong, often brilliant analyses generate a heat sufficient to warm a multitutude of feminist and political debates.”—Joan Copjec, University at Buffalo, State University of New York

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822324737
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books
  • Publication date: 7/28/2000
  • Series: [sic] Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 328
  • Sales rank: 1,026,840
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.27 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

Renata Salecl is Senior Researcher at the Institute of Criminology at the Faculty of Law, University of Ljubljana (Slovenia) and Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics. She is the author of The Spoils of Freedom: Psychoanalysis and Feminism After the Fall of Socialism and (Per)versions of Love and Hate.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
I Sexual Difference
1 On Semblances in the Relation Between the Sexes 13
2 Psychoanalytical Anatomy 28
3 The Curse on Sex 39
II Paternal Prohibition
4 Freud's Moses and the Ethics of Nomotropic Desire 57
5 Beating Fantasies and Sexuality 106
6 The Collapse of the Function of the Father and Its Effect on Gender Roles 131
III Feminine Exception
7 Feminine Jealousies 157
8 Noir Wagner 170
9 The Thing from Inner Space 216
V Love
10 What Is Love? 263
11 The Case of the Perforated Sheet 282
12 Love and Sexual Difference: Doubled Partners in Men and Women 297
Notes on Contributors 317
Index 318
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