The depths of the self

Grant Gillett

in The Mind and its Discontents

Second edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9780199237548
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754555 | DOI:

Series: International Perspectives in Philosophy & Psychiatry

The depths of the self

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This chapter is the key to the book in that it lays out a theory of the psyche that is critical of traditional ideas about the unconscious. Human beings are storytellers running a narrative of their own experience on the basis of their ongoing engagement with the world. The unconscious is invoked to explain gaps in that narrative, but Freud's Victorian psychic hydraulics is altogether too reifying of that which is by nature not determinate in form. Lacanian problematizations of the psyche as an imago enunciated under the name of the father are explored and linked to inscriptions on the body made by complex historical events befalling individuals and human groups. The meaning for one's self-understanding of ‘outing’ the unconscious into a world of discursive engagement with others is both difficult and emancipatory and forces us to look at the selves we do not like to portray ourselves as being (and can be bound up in knots by).

Chapter.  17144 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry

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