Talk:Fragmented body

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Jacques Lacan

The concept of the "fragmented body" is developed by Jacques Lacan in the context of the mirror stage.

Critical Dictionary

In his early paper on the mirror stage (1949), Lacan refers to the imago of the fragmented body as an image of castration which expresses the subject's feeling that the body lacks any substantial unity.

The resultant anxiety stimulates the subject's identification with the complete image in the mirror, but the fragmented body always poses a threat to its unity.

According to Lacan, the imago of the fragmented body reappears when the analysis touches upon or provokes the aggressivity of the analysand.

Surrealism

The image of the fragmented body does not derive from Freud. Lacan himself compares it to the hallucinatory imagery of Hieronymus Bosch.

It has been suggested that Lacan's imago is influenced by Hans Bellmer's photographs of a dismembered and rearranged doll.[1]

They are inspired by the artist's sexual obsession with a young girl and appeared in a surrealist journal to which Lacan contributed.

This suggestion is therefore highly plausible, and provides a reminder of Lacan's debt to surrealism.










fragmented body (French:corps morcelé)

The 'fragmented body' (French:corps morcelé) refers to a concept developed by Jacques Lacan in his early work. The notion of the 'fragmented body' (French:corps morcelé) is one of the earliest original concepts to appear in Lacan's work.

Mirror Stage and Ego Formation

The 'fragmented body' is closely linked to the concept of the mirror stage.

In the mirror stage the infant sees its reflection in the mirror as a whole/synthesis, and this perception causes, by contrast, the perception of its own body (which lacks motor coordination at this stage) as divided and fragmented.

The anxiety provoked by this feeling of fragmentation fuels the identification with the specular image by which the ego is formed.

Fragmentation

However, the anticipation of a synthetic ego is henceforth constantly threatened by the memory of this sense of fragmentation, which manifests itself in "images of castration, emasculation, mutilation, dismemberment, dislocation, evisceration, devouring, bursting open of the body" which haunt the human imagination.[2]

These images typically appear in the analysand's dreams and associations at a particular phase in the treatment - namely, the moment when the analysand's aggressivity emerges in the negative transference.

This moment is an important early sign that the treatment is progressing in the right direction, i.e. towards the disintegration of the rigid unity of the ego.[3]


--


In a more general sense, the fragmented body refers not only to images of the physical body but also to any sense of fragmentation and disunity:

"He [the subject] is originally an inchoate collection of desires - there you have the true sense of the expression fragmented body."[4]

Any such sense of disunity threatens the illusion of synthesis which constitutes the ego.

Hysteria

Lacan also uses the idea of the fragmented body to explain certain typical symptoms of hysteria.

When a hysterical paralysis affects a limb, it does not respect the physiological structure of the nervous system, but instead reflects the way the body is divided up by an 'imaginary anatomy'.

In this way, the fragmented body is "revealed at the organic level, in the lines of fragilization that define the anatomy of phantasy, as exhibited in the schizoid and spasmodic symptoms of hysteria."[5]

See Also

References

  1. Bowie, Malcolm. Lacan. London: Fontana, 1991.
  2. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits: A Selection. Trans. Alan Sheridan. London: Tavistock Publications, 1977. p.11
  3. Lacan, 1951b: 13
  4. S3, 39
  5. E, 5


The concept of the 'fragmented body' (French:corps morcelé) is developed by Jacques Lacan in the context of the mirror stage.

Critical Dictionary

In his early paper on the mirror stage (1949), Lacan refers to the imago of the fragmented body as an image of castration which expresses the subject's feeling that the body lacks any substantial unity.

The resultant anxiety stimulates the subject's identification with the complete image in the mirror, but the fragmented body always poses a threat to its unity.

According to Lacan, the imago of the fragmented body reappears when the analysis touches upon or provokes the aggressivity of the analysand.

Mirror Stage and Ego Formation

In the mirror stage the infant sees its reflection in the mirror as a whole/synthesis, and this perception causes, by contrast, the perception of its own body (which lacks motor coordination at this stage) as divided and fragmented.

The anxiety provoked by this feeling of fragmentation fuels the identification with the specular image by which the ego is formed.

Fragmentation

The ego is constantly threatened by the memory of this sense of fragmentation, which manifests itself in "images of castration, emasculation, mutilation, dismemberment, dislocation, evisceration, devouring, bursting open of the body" which haunt the human imagination.[1]

These images typically appear in the analysand's dreams and associations at a particular phase in the treatment - namely, the moment when the analysand's aggressivity emerges in the negative transference.

This moment is an important early sign that the treatment is progressing in the right direction, i.e. towards the disintegration of the rigid unity of the ego.[2]

In a more general sense, the fragmented body refers not only to images of the physical body but also to any sense of fragmentation and disunity:

"He [the subject] is originally an inchoate collection of desires - there you have the true sense of the expression fragmented body."[3]

Any such sense of disunity threatens the illusion of synthesis which constitutes the ego.

Hysteria

Lacan also uses the term fragmented body to explain certain typical symptoms of hysteria.

When a hysterical paralysis affects a limb, it does not respect the physiological structure of the nervous system, but instead reflects the way the body is divided up by an 'imaginary anatomy'.

In this way, the fragmented body is "revealed at the organic level, in the lines of fragilization that define the anatomy of phantasy, as exhibited in the schizoid and spasmodic symptoms of hysteria."[4]

Surrealism

The image of the fragmented body does not derive from Freud. Lacan himself compares it to the hallucinatory imagery of Hieronymus Bosch.

It has been suggested that Lacan's imago is influenced by Hans Bellmer's photographs of a dismembered and rearranged doll.[5]

They are inspired by the artist's sexual obsession with a young girl and appeared in a surrealist journal to which Lacan contributed.

This suggestion is therefore highly plausible, and provides a reminder of Lacan's debt to surrealism.

See Also

References

  1. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits: A Selection. Trans. Alan Sheridan. London: Tavistock Publications, 1977. p.11
  2. Lacan, 1951b: 13
  3. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book III. The Psychoses, 1955-56. Trans. Russell Grigg. London: Routledge, 1993. p.39
  4. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits: A Selection. Trans. Alan Sheridan. London: Tavistock Publications, 1977. p.5
  5. Bowie, Malcolm. Lacan. London: Fontana, 1991.