Psychoanalysis
Conclusion & Continuation
Fetishism as an Example
Outline
Sigmund Freud
 Jacque Lacan
 Fetishism
 Continuations

– ego psychology & object-relations theory
– Connections with Marxism
Freudian Psychoanalysis: General
Comment --Deconstruction

Freud begins with a series of hierarchical
oppositions:
–
–
–
–
–
normal/pathological,
Sanity/insanity,
Experience/dream,
Conscious/unconscious,
Life/death.
The first –prior and richer; The second–
negation or complication;
 Freud: the first –”a special case of the
fundamentals designated by the second
term.” (Jonathan Culler qud in Wright 124)
Freudian Psychoanalysis: possible
functions & criticism
A. Psyche, Id psychology & Child development:
The theory of Oedipus complex and penis
envy
-- helps explain gendering processes in patriarchal
society.
-- Freud's limitations or our misunderstanding?
-- inability to explain female sexuality--"What do
women want?"
-- its focus on infantile psychology. "Between ordinary
adult personality traits and infantile psychology
there are layers upon layers of relationships,
experiences, values and meanings."
Freudian Psychoanalysis: possible
functions & criticism
B. Psychobiography and Art as Dream
work.
-- psychobiography (treating artists as
patients, art as dream work, and explaining
art in terms of his/her life) can be reductive,
ignoring art’s aesthetic aspects on the
conscious level. (e.g. E. Bishop’s
objectification/distantiation of her loss )
-- We can examine our own transference in
reading.
-- interpretation of dream: helps us
understand the languages of dream.
Freudian Psychoanalysis: possible
functions & criticism
C. Psychological Pattern & Disorders
Pattern:
-- repression  displacement/sublimation or
fixation/regression
-- repetition compulsion, defense mechanism,
death/life instincts
2) Disorder -- the return of the repressed
through symptoms.
-- Helpful for character and self analysis;
-- entering the symbolic order means having
reality checks; otherwise, we may become
psychotic.
1)
Freudian Psychoanalysis: Lacan
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
Add linguistic elements to Freud’s analysis.
Barred subject: S-ier/S-ied; or S;
The differences between need, demand
(with language) and desire.
The mother as feminine Other, our needs
for the “others” (objet a).
The three orders of human existence:
constant antagonism between the Real and
the Symbolic, our mirror images and the
need to “look.”
--Is this another fiction?
Fetishism
An example of controversies
and continuation
Fetishism – of Different Kinds
(Religious fetishism 拜物教--人體、物
體、神像和護身符四大類 );
 Erotic/Sexual fetishism;
 Commodity fetishism and Colonial
fetishism

FETISHISM—general def.
Erotic fetishism-- the dependence on
particular objects (part of a body or an
inanimate object) to obtain sexual
arousal.
 Most common fetish objects are Female
underwear, Leatherwear, and Rubber.
Using female underwear for fetishistic
purposes is one reason for partial crossdressing. http://www.schools
out.org.uk/san_definitions.html
Erotic fetishism- Examples

Clothing Fetishism
- underwear
- uniforms (e.g. Exotica)
- gloves
- shoes/boots/pantyhose
 (Body) Modification
- tattoos
- piercing
 Material Fetishism
- leather
- fur
- velvet (e.g. Blue Velvet)
Erotic fetishism- Examples
Body Fetishism
- legs/feet
- hair
- nails/claws
- belly buttons
 Other Fetishism
- manaquins/robots
- cross dressing
- cigarette

Erotic fetishism- Freud’s analysis

Disavowal: The little boy sees the mother’s
genitals and simultaneously denies his
perception of her castration.
//his castration fear
Solution -- denial/acceptance of her
castration, and by extension his own, by
finding a substitute.
 Fetish:
– A substitute for the mother’s missing penis;
– Linked metonymically to the female genitalia;
– Never the same as the original, which is a fiction.
(imaginary phallus or phallic mother)
Erotic fetishism- Reasons

Fetishization:
– eroticizes an object or a non-genital part of
one’s body;
– allows the boy to remain intimate with the
“phallic mother” while at the same time
enter the symbolic, accepting the father’s
law and developing his masculinity.
 Lacan’s example: Little Harry (Grosz 11920)
Is fetishism all about need for power
and identification?
 Are we all fetishists, one way or another

Fetishism: example

•Fazio's Mistress,
1863.D.G.Rossetti
•Prosperine, 1877
Erotic fetishism- Extention



1.
2.
--
Visual Pleasures in Hollywood films
–the camera takes a male perspective,
watching female stars as passive object of
look
Satisfy two kinds of desire:
Male voyeurism –peeping in order to
possess
Fetishism --look and identify with the
glamorized female stars;
fetishizing women’s body on the screen; in
order to project them as “phallic mother”
(//e.g. film noire: the woman has to be a
lack, losing memory of her identity.)
Erotic fetishism- Criticism

Reflects Freud’s emphasis of-– Female castration, male castration anxiety
– Freud’s privileging the phallus

Feminist responses
1. Rejection –fetishism coincides with the
norm of phallocentrism.
2. Female fetishism: e.g. collection of
memorabilia; self-fetishization;
3. Rewriting: female disavowal—women
disavow their own castration through
narcissism or hysteria. It also explains
female development of lesbianism.
Examples for analysis:
Mulholland Dr. –its “Narcissistic”
Elements
As a revision of film noire, it has a
woman, but not a man, in pursuit of a
femme fatale (who is mysterious and
amnesiac).
 The fetishistic images in the film turn to
be those of herself.
 Mirror/reality forms a vicious circle, and
there is no outlet for her.

Greta Garbo
vs. Diane
Rene Magritte, The
Dangerous Liaison
http://bertc.com/magritte_
menu.htm

The woman
hides behind a
projected
“phallic” image
of herself. 
contradiction
between
soliciting gaze
with the gesture
of modesty and
self-projection.
 (Cf. Wright 185)
Fetishism: Literary Examples

Hemingway
 his male heroes – all amputees. (Jake Barnes
is missing his penis. Harry Morgan is missing
his arm. Harry Walden has a gangrenous leg.
Colonel Cantwell has been shot "twice
through the hand.“)
– a fear of castration  envy of masculine grace.
– an unsettling identification with the "castrated"
woman, which paradoxically intensifies castration
anxiety. e.g.
Fetishism: Literary Examples
“問金庸情是何物:禮物、信物、證物” – by 張
小虹;
-- Some fetishes may not be sexual in nature
e.g.
-- green light in The Great Gatsby (national
fetish)
-- commodity fetish (e.g. The commodities in
such realist novels as Bell Jar by Sylvia
Plath or Sister Carrie)
Fetishism of Other Kinds: Colonial
Fetish

sexual fetish
the sexualized "fetish of
colonial discourse" (Homi Bhabha)
 colonial fetish:
– in the ambivalent space "in between“
• an imposed identity and the reality of their
humanity for the colonized
• between the recognized and the disavowed,
• between fear and desire for the colonizers.

The tropes of the sexual fetish are present in
the colonial fetish, but syncretized with
certain tropes of colonialist experience and
identity to embody the larger socio-political
context of colonial relations.
Fetishism of Other Kinds:
Colonial Fetish


e.g.1. the image of the
submissive and sweet
Oriental woman (Madame
Butterfly);
2. Jimmie Durham SelfPortrait (1986) Sexually
powerful aborigine. -- sea
shells for ears, bits of animal
hide hair; one turquoise eye is
just to show a little
"Indianness," and the feathers
revealed by an open chest
cavity imply a certain "lightheartedness." and defiantly
"large and colorful" genitals.
Fetishism of Other Kinds:
Commodity Fetish

The charming and enigmatic nature of
commodity
 Exchange values added to it;
 relations between the products // relations
between men
e.g. Cell phone, Hello Kitty, etc.
 More next time.
Psychoanalysis:
continuation
ego psychology & objectrelations theory
Ego psychology – deal with the
management of fantasies for the
maintenance of identity;
 (id psychology– instinctual drives and
private fantasies)
 Object-relations:

– feelings about the mother projected to an
external object;  multiple interactions with
the object  establish one’s relations with
reality.
Combined with Marxism
The symbolic order – filled with signs of
ideologies;
 Commodity –as a sublime object of our
desire (to hide the inner split in us).
 Analyzing cultural symptoms. e.g. the need
for stigmatization when SARRS occurs.
 Treating Psychoanalysis as a discourse that
gets form when traditional families are
challenged. (e.g. Foucault)

Reference
Psychoanalytic Criticism: A Reappraisal
by Elizabeth Wright. Polity,1998.\
 Elizabeth Grosz Jacque Lacan: A
Feminist Introduction

Next Week

Reader: chap 5 to p. 214
 "Snowed Up"
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