TRAUMA, VICTIMHOOD AND SUBJECTIVITY

Summary: This paper sets out to analyse victimhood as an identity marker after experiences of sexual victimization. Experiences of victimization do not necessarily entail a sense of victimhood. In reference to Lacan’s allegory of the robbery, it is argued that the constitution of subjectivity in relation to the Other is structurally preceded by an instant of victimization. The difference between structural and accidental victimization is then described. For victimization to develop into victimhood, two psychic processes play a role. First, victimhood is the outcome of a process of symbolico-imaginary identification that is fed by contemporary trauma discourses and cultural representations of victimhood. Second, victimhood is the result of a process of identification with (the object of jouissance of) the aggressor as described by Ferenczi. Finally, a distinction is made between victimhood in the hysteric subject and in the perverse subject. These two types of victimhood are illustrated with vignettes of sexual abuse.

FROM MASS TO MESS: IDENTIFICATION AND ITS DISCONTENTS

Summary: Getting to the heart of Freud’s Massenpsychologie, from one angle, depends on an understanding of the term ‘identification’ in Freud, precisely as, analysis of the ego. The problem is that, according to Freud, and his faithful reader, Lacan: There is no identification. Always moving between a form of unity or unification and a singular trait that is not part of whole, a complex movement and the mere appearance of unity in dreams, speech, or symptom formation, introjection of the other and projection of the ego, identification is itself the paradox of a one that psychoanalysis constantly dissolves, complicates, indeed multiplies. What problems does this pose to the psychoanalytic meta- psychological conceptual edifice, no less the very clinical practice of psychoanalysis itself? And how can we extend this to the question of hysteria and the contagion of mass psychology?

Borderline

As a diagnosis, borderline constitutes the intersection of all postfreudian errors concerning anxiety. On the side of the analyst the borderline-diagnosis avoids his horror towards his own act, his traumatic anxiety towards the real of his desire or his discourse which makes him responsible for hysteria. On the side of the analysand the borderline-diagnosis misses the mark of anxiety neurosis as the real limit on the symbolic of hysterical discourse.

Migraine: Between Psychosomatic and Hystery?

In his discussion of Möbius’ book Die Migräne, Freud cautions against the view of migraine as a vasomotoric illness. He speaks enthusiastically about Möbius’ detailed treatment of the unresolved issue of causality and the subjective factors of this illness, of individual differences in symptomatology level and of the differential diagnosis of migraine and other braindisorders. Freud advances two major theses about migraine: that migraine like conditions of the stomach, back and heart exist and the possibility of a nasal etiology. Migraine is still largely unexplained. From the analytic point of view migraine can be seen as a conversion symptom, and even as a psychosomatic phenomenon.

On Applied Psychoanalysis and Applied Literature

“Applied literature” appears to be replacing Freud’s “applied psychoanalysis” in which literary works are interpreted by means of psychoanalytic theories. The starting point here is that insights from depth-psychology operate within literature itself which raises certain questions and which in themselves could influence the further development of psychoanalysis. In the “postmodern” novel, in which preoccupations with family and relations reminds one of certain Freudian case studies, the nearly forgotten concept of “hysteria” makes a comeback. Siri Hustvedt’s novel What I loved serves as an illustration of this. This novel is analysed as a story in which hysteria is displayed in several different ways and forms the nucleus of a scene in which the author shows us a glimpse of her desire.