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Jouissance/From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Jouissance - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The term jouissance, in French, denotes "pleasure" or "enjoyment." The term has a sexual connotation (i.e., orgasm) lacking in the English word "enjoyment".[1]

Contents

In psychoanalysis

The word is left untranslated in English editions of the works of Jacques Lacan.[2] In his Seminar "The Ethics of Psychoanalysis" (1959–1960) Lacan develops his concept of the opposition of jouissance and pleasure. The pleasure principle, according to Lacan, functions as a limit to enjoyment: it is the law that commands the subject to 'enjoy as little as possible'. At the same time the subject constantly attempts to transgress the prohibitions imposed on his enjoyment, to go beyond the pleasure principle. Yet the result of transgressing the pleasure principle, according to Lacan, is not more pleasure but pain, since there is only a certain amount of pleasure that the subject can bear. Beyond this limit, pleasure becomes pain, and this 'painful principle' is what Lacan calls jouissance. (Dylan Evans). Thus jouissance is suffering (Ethics).
In his Seminar "Encore" (1972–1973) Lacan states that jouissance is essentially phallic. That is, insofar as jouissance is sexual it is phallic, meaning that it does not relate to the Other as such. Lacan admits, however, that there is a specifically feminine jouissance, a supplementary jouissance, which is beyond the phallus, a jouissance of the Other. This feminine jouissance is ineffable, for both women and men may experience it but know nothing about it.
In his seminar "The Other Side of Psychoanalysis" (1969–1970) Lacan introduced the concept of surplus-jouissance (French "plus-de-jouir") inspired by Marx's concept of surplus-value: objet petit a is the excess of jouissance which has no use value, and which persists for the mere sake of jouissance.

In philosophy and literary theory

The Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek, a known Lacanian theorist, has adopted the term in his philosophy; it may also be seen in the works, both joint and individual, of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, and it plays an important role in the writing of Julia Kristeva and Roland Barthes.
In his 1973 literary theory book The Pleasure of the Text, Barthes divides the effects of texts into two: plaisir (translated as "pleasure") and jouissance. The distinction corresponds to a further distinction Barthes makes between "readerly" and "writerly" texts. The pleasure of the text corresponds to the readerly text, which does not challenge the reader's position as a subject. The writerly text provides bliss, which explodes literary codes and allows the reader to break out of his or her subject position.
For Barthes plaisir is, "a pleasure... linked to cultural enjoyment and identity, to the cultural enjoyment of identity, to a homogenising movement of the ego."[3] As Richard Middleton puts it, "Plaisir results, then, from the operation of the structures of signification through which the subject knows himself or herself; jouissancefractures these structures."[4]

In feminist theory

In the work of French feminist writer Hélène Cixous, she uses the term jouissance to describe a form of women's pleasure, or sexual rapture that combines mental, physical and spiritual aspects of female experience, bordering on mystical communion. Cixous maintains that jouissance is the source of a woman's creative power, and the suppression of jouissance prevents women from finding their own fully empowered voice[5]. [6] The concept of jouissance is explored by Cixous and other authors in their writings on Écriture féminine, a strain of feminist literary theory that originated in France in the early 1970s.
Other feminists have argued that Freudian "hysteria" is jouissance distorted by patriarchal culture and claim that through jouissance is a transcendent state that represents freedom from oppressive linearities. In her introduction to Cixous' The Newly Born Woman, literary critic Sandra Gilbert writes "to escape hierarchical bonds and thereby come closer to what Cixous calls jouissance, which can be defined as a virtually metaphysical fulfillment of desire that goes far beyond [mere] satisfaction... [It is a] fusion of the erotic, the mystical, and the political."[7]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Jouissance". Literary Encyclopedia. The Literary Dictionary Company Limited. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
  2. ^ Dylan Evans, An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis
  3. ^ Barthes, Roland. "The Death of the Author." Image—Music—Text. Trans. and ed. Stephen Heath. New York: Hill, 1977
  4. ^ Middleton, Richard (1990/2002). Studying Popular Music. Philadelphia: Open University Press. ISBN 0-335-15275-9.
  5. ^ Introduction to Cixous
  6. ^ J. Fiske (1989). Understanding Popular Culture. Routledge.
  7. ^ Gilbert, Sandra M. Introduction. The Newly Born Woman. By Hilhne Cixous and Catherine Clement 1975. Trans. Betsy Wing. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986

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