Subject to Failure

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Mitchell, Ryan Robert
Subjection , Discourse analysis , Fantasy
My project here is to look at how uncovering those unconscious and phantasmatic identifications in the social field can lead to the possibility of altering subjectivity or, at the very least, tracing how subjects are formed through structure and how they are psychically linked to ideological structure. This thesis suggests that subjection is never total or complete and that when viewed from an awry or skewed perspective, particular discourses and modes of subjection are revealed to be neither permanent, true nor necessary—we can always open up new spaces of subjectivity and discourse and through the practice of ‘tracing’ structure we can discern how we are determined and at which points structure constrains or enables us. My work is an effort to supplement theories of discourse analysis/ideology critique with psychoanalytic concepts, and more specifically, the psychoanalytic category of fantasy to discuss the ways in which discourses are provided with coherence and how subjects are tethered/binded to discursive fields. In my discussion of the non-discursive, I will be drawing from the Freudian concept of unheimlich, or the uncanny, to discuss the ways in which discursive fields become disrupted by repressed or “foreign” elements. I contend that the subject always exceeds structure, and for this reason, there is always room for resistance within discursive fields.
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