Revisiting the master-signifier, or, Mandela and repression

Show simple item record Hook, Derek Vanheule, Stijn 2016-05-06T16:13:58Z 2016-05-06T16:13:58Z 2016-01-19
dc.description.abstract The concept of the master-signifier has been subject to a variety of applications in Lacanian forms of political discourse theory and ideology critique. While there is much to be commended in literature of this sort, it often neglects salient issues pertaining to the role of master signifiers in the clinical domain of (individual) psychical economy. The popularity of the concept of the master (or “empty”) signifier in political discourse analysis has thus proved a double-edged sword. On the one hand it demonstrates how crucial psychical processes are performed via the operations of the signifier, extending thus the Lacanian thesis that identification is the outcome of linguistic and symbolic as opposed to merely psychological processes. On the other, the use of the master signifier concept within the political realm to track discursive formations tends to distance the term from the dynamics of the unconscious and operation of repression. Accordingly, this paper revisits the master signifier concept, and does so within the socio-political domain, yet while paying particular attention to the functioning of unconscious processes of fantasy and repression. More specifically, it investigates how Nelson Mandela operates as a master signifier in contemporary South Africa, as a vital means of knitting together diverse elements of post-apartheid society, enabling the fantasy of the post-apartheid nation, and holding at bay a whole series of repressed and negated undercurrents. en_ZA
dc.description.department Psychology en_ZA
dc.description.librarian am2016 en_ZA
dc.description.sponsorship International Social Research Foundation (ISRF) en_ZA
dc.description.uri en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Hook D and Vanheule S (2016) Revisiting the Master-Signifier, or, Mandela and Repression. Front. Psychol. 6:2028. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.02028. en_ZA
dc.identifier.issn 1664-1078
dc.identifier.other 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.02028
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.publisher Frontiers Research Foundation en_ZA
dc.rights © 2016 Hook and Vanheule. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). en_ZA
dc.subject Discourse en_ZA
dc.subject Discourse of the master en_ZA
dc.subject Lacanian psychoanalysis en_ZA
dc.subject Mandela en_ZA
dc.subject Master-signifier en_ZA
dc.title Revisiting the master-signifier, or, Mandela and repression en_ZA
dc.type Article en_ZA

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