A Subject is Being Beaten

Robert Rowland Smith

in Death-Drive

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780748640393
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671601 | DOI:
A Subject is Being Beaten

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Literary Theory and Cultural Studies


Show Summary Details


On the surface, the death-drive cannot be rational: who in their right mind would ever wish for death? Is that really what Freud is talking about? And if so, why does he so rarely mention suicide? This chapter attempts to clear the matter up. After all, it makes for an odd de-link: on the one hand Freud speaks of the death-drive, but on the other hand he is virtually silent on suicide. What is the relationship between them, and where does masochism, which Freud famously is interested in, fit? The chapter looks at the paradoxes of Freud's position, and sets it alongside two other great thinkers of suicide and punishment, Durkheim and Foucault. When it comes down to it, Freud's death-drive stops short of destroying life; it prefers a return to a simple state of inertia that is closer to preservation than annihilation.

Keywords: Freud; death-drive; suicide; punishment; Durkheim; Foucault

Chapter.  6761 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.