Ghent University Academic Bibliography

Advanced

Fetishism: the anticipation of castration

David Hendrickx UGent, Abe Geldhof UGent and Virginie Debaere UGent (2012) CASYS : INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF COMPUTING ANTICIPATORY SYSTEMS.
abstract
This paper discusses Freud’s and Lacan’s theories on fetishism, with special attention for what links these theories: both authors see fetishism as an attempt to escape castration by anticipating it. Freud studied fetishism as the cornerstone of sexuality. In ‘Three essays on the theory of sexuality’ (1905), Freud saw sexuality as always deflected by a partial overvaluation of the object and thus as fetishistic. In ‘Fetishism’ (1927) and in ‘On the Splitting of the Ego’ (1940), he described the origin of fetishism. While normal persons overcome the fetishistic character of sexuality via the Oedipus complex, which leads to an acceptation of symbolic castration, fetishists disavow the fact that woman have no phallus. Their holding on to an overvalued object anticipates the disappearance of the phallus. The result is a splitting of the ego, which Freud considered to be typical of perversion. Lacan studied fetishism from a structuralist angle and argued that it implies a characteristic mode of subjectivity. We analyze three central ideas from his fourth and fifth seminars (1956, 1957): (1) fetishism is marked by the lack of a specific kind of object-relation; (2) the fetish functions like a metonymic object, and like a veil that protects the subject from anxiety; (3) in fetishism the paternal metaphor is deficient and fails to join the dimensions of the Imaginary and the Symbolic. For fetishists, castration is not integrated, but held at bay by a continuous anticipation of it, with results in the creation of a fetish – and of a characteristic perverse subject-structure. We conclude that, while current studies of perversion focus on spectacular symptoms and neglect subjectivity, Freud and Lacan didn’t study perversion as a mere disorder, but as a possible organization of subjectivity. Fetishism was exemplar to them because it illustrates the function of symbolic castration in subject-formation: when it is integrated, the subject structure will be normal; when it is kept at a distance by continuous anticipation, the result is a perverse subject structure.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
journalArticle (original)
publication status
in press
subject
keyword
Freud, Lacan, Fetishism, Perversion, Castration
journal title
CASYS : INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF COMPUTING ANTICIPATORY SYSTEMS
CASYS : Int. J. Comput. Anticip. Syst.
ISSN
1373-5411
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
A2
id
3050450
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-3050450
date created
2012-11-09 15:34:45
date last changed
2012-11-14 14:03:36
@article{3050450,
  abstract     = {This paper discusses Freud{\textquoteright}s and Lacan{\textquoteright}s theories on fetishism, with special attention for what links these theories: both authors see fetishism as an attempt to escape castration by anticipating it. Freud studied fetishism as the cornerstone of sexuality. In {\textquoteleft}Three essays on the theory of sexuality{\textquoteright} (1905), Freud saw sexuality as always deflected by a partial overvaluation of the object and thus as fetishistic. In {\textquoteleft}Fetishism{\textquoteright} (1927) and in {\textquoteleft}On the Splitting of the Ego{\textquoteright} (1940), he described the origin of fetishism. While normal persons overcome the fetishistic character of sexuality via the Oedipus complex, which leads to an acceptation of symbolic castration, fetishists disavow the fact that woman have no phallus. Their holding on to an overvalued object anticipates the disappearance of the phallus. The result is a splitting of the ego, which Freud considered to be typical of perversion. Lacan studied fetishism from a structuralist angle and argued that it implies a characteristic mode of subjectivity. We analyze three central ideas from his fourth and fifth seminars (1956, 1957): (1) fetishism is marked by the lack of a specific kind of object-relation; (2) the fetish functions like a metonymic object, and like a veil that protects the subject from anxiety; (3) in fetishism the paternal metaphor is deficient and fails to join the dimensions of the Imaginary and the Symbolic. For fetishists, castration is not integrated, but held at bay by a continuous anticipation of it, with results in the creation of a fetish -- and of a characteristic perverse subject-structure. We conclude that, while current studies of perversion focus on spectacular symptoms and neglect subjectivity, Freud and Lacan didn{\textquoteright}t study perversion as a mere disorder, but as a possible organization of subjectivity. Fetishism was exemplar to them because it illustrates the function of symbolic castration in subject-formation: when it is integrated, the subject structure will be normal; when it is kept at a distance by continuous anticipation,  the result is a perverse subject structure.},
  author       = {Hendrickx, David and Geldhof, Abe and Debaere, Virginie},
  issn         = {1373-5411},
  journal      = {CASYS : INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF COMPUTING ANTICIPATORY SYSTEMS},
  keyword      = {Freud,Lacan,Fetishism,Perversion,Castration},
  language     = {eng},
  title        = {Fetishism: the anticipation of castration},
  year         = {2012},
}

Chicago
Hendrickx, David, Abe Geldhof, and Virginie Debaere. 2012. “Fetishism: The Anticipation of Castration.” Casys : International Journal of Computing Anticipatory Systems.
APA
Hendrickx, D., Geldhof, A., & Debaere, V. (2012). Fetishism: the anticipation of castration. CASYS : INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF COMPUTING ANTICIPATORY SYSTEMS.
Vancouver
1.
Hendrickx D, Geldhof A, Debaere V. Fetishism: the anticipation of castration. CASYS : INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF COMPUTING ANTICIPATORY SYSTEMS. 2012;
MLA
Hendrickx, David, Abe Geldhof, and Virginie Debaere. “Fetishism: The Anticipation of Castration.” CASYS : INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF COMPUTING ANTICIPATORY SYSTEMS (2012): n. pag. Print.