By Rina Arya (auth.)
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Additional resources for Abjection and Representation: An Exploration of Abjection in the Visual Arts, Film and Literature
The semiotic is also exercised in creativity. These states are so intense and in extremis that they often momentarily obliterate consciousness and take us to a place that is anterior to linguistic language where we operate ‘below the surface’ of rational communication. Elaine Scarry comments on the annihilating effect of physical pain which ‘does not simply resist language but actively destroys it, bringing about an immediate reversion to a state anterior to language, to the sounds and cries a human being makes before language is learned’ (Scarry, 1985, p.
This is a core idea of the work of Rozin and his collaborators, who interpret our behaviour to separate ourselves from things that elicit disgust as a more elementary fundamental need to detach ourselves from our animal condition. Disgust generates feelings of nausea that prompt our desire to move away from the source of these feelings, thereby reducing sensory contact with it. If abjection involves disgust, in that disgust is elicited in abjection, then it is reasonable to describe them as having similarities.
Advancing certain aspects of human behaviour requires the suppression of certain aspects of being and, for Freud, this necessitated the regulation of perversity. Freud’s claim that society needs to repress particular libidinal impulses as a prerequisite for the stability of the civilized ego is, prima facie, similar to Kristeva’s belief in the repression of the abject maternal body as essential for the formation and maintenance of the subject. But, as observed by Elizabeth Grosz (1990, p. 87), while Freud argues for a complete banishment of the identiﬁed practices from society, Kristeva does not want to push abjection completely out of consciousness and recognizes the importance of the allure of abjection, which seduces the subject and heightens our sensory awareness.
Abjection and Representation: An Exploration of Abjection in the Visual Arts, Film and Literature by Rina Arya (auth.)