Number 23 - 2006 / 2

Is Psychoanalysis Really Outmoded?
Apropos 150th Anniversary of Freud's Birth
Slavoj Zizek

Guest Editors: Anthony Molino and Alfredo Lombardozzi

Editor's Note - (TEXT ON-LINE)
Alfredo Lombardozzi

The Repression of Culture
Waud Kracke
    Keywords: Acculturation ­ Amazonian ­ Ethnoanalysis - Father Loss - Malaria

    A Parintintin Indian who has succeeded in melding himself into interior Brazilian society working as a boatman, falls ill. Terrified of his illness and of the hospital, he is immobilized in his hammock in his mother's simple house in Humaitá. In conversation with the anthropologist, he encounters the death of his father, years before, which he had repressed. Confronting the anguish of his father's death in the illness he had survived, he is able to recover some of the language and culture he had repressed along with his father's death, and is enabled to reimmerse himself in his work.

Contaminating Genres: Reflections on Ethnography, Literature & Psychoanalysis
Anthony Molino
    Keywords: Contamination ­ Subjectivity ­ Ethnographic representation ­ Unconscious ­ Fiction

    Inspired by the work of anthropologists Michael Fischer and Waud Kracke, the author argues that modern-day ethnography and its representational strategies can be enriched by knowledge of a literary genre of transnational importance: namely, of fiction that deploys psychoanalysis as a means of revisiting and assessing crucial moments in the history of a culture or country. In this study of five novels from countries as diverse as Italy, Argentina, Spain, England and the United States, dis/located understandings of the unconscious (Bollas, Lacan) are explored and offered as potential ethnographic tools, in ways that are compatible with anthropology's own critique of the Western ‘ego' or self.

Growing Up on the Border
Identity routes in immigrant children: a psycho-anthropological study
Virginia De Micco
    Keywords: Migration ­ Childhood - Identity Narratives - Embodied Cultural Changes

    Through a series of meetings with children belonging to the so-called “second generation of migrants,” the specific difficulties encountered by people trying to construct identities on the border between two cultures are examined. Two fundamental determinants of identity, derivation and body, become bones of contention between origins (country of emigration) and daily fabric (host country), and manifest themselves as mechanisms of intense conflict, both intra-psychic and relational
    Particular attention is paid to the analysis of the bodily experiences of these children, for whom the body becomes a site of conflict as well as an object to decipher. The specific difficulty in recognising and representing one's own skin colour, particularly in children of African origin, is also examined. After having critically discussed the possibility of using psychoanalytical listening tools in an ethnographic enquiry, the particular experience and narrative of a young girl are viewed and assessed.

The Flexibility of Narrative Time in Science Fiction Film
Haim Bresheeth
    Keywords: Science Fiction Cinema - Oedipal Return - Temporal Fantasies - Family Romance - Sexual Object Choices

    This article examines narratives of some recent Science Fiction cinematic texts, focusing on the less-than-usual movement into the past, rather than the future, and its connections to psychoanalytic theory. The return to the past, with its obvious echoes of psychoanalytical praxis and theorization, proves to be redolent with usage of Freudian concepts: in fact, references abound to Freud's 'family romance' article, as well as to Oedipal fantasies of the 'Primal Scene'. In examining these connections, the article also probes the nature of cinema as a 'time machine', a mental procedure which allows us the visualization of a fantastic journey into the past, giving it physical features and historical contours. To this end, references are cited to the work of Arlow and Fraser, among others, on the nature of the perception of time.

Why are Holy Anorectics So Plump?
Pathology & Culture among Female Penitents in Medieval Catholicism
Gananath Obeyesekere
    Keywords: anorexia nervosa, penitential fasting, personal symbols, rapture, sublimation

    A critique of any attempt to reduce the symbolic formations associated with female penitential fasting in medieval Catholicism to a pathological infrastructure, especially as a form of anorexia nervosa. The strategy adopts the model of the author's previous book Medusa's Hair that deals with the psychic lives of Sri Lankan Buddhist female ecstatics and introduces the idea of “personal symbols,” those symbol formations that operate on the level of the culture and the psyche at the same time. Along with this is the employment of Paul Ricoeur's notion of the two movements of Freudian theory, the regressive and the progressive, in his Freud and Philosophy, the latter idea being a development of Freud's notion of sublimation. This paper deals with the sublimation and transformation of “deep motivations” or unconscious motivations into publicly acceptable symbolic formations that in turn permits the inter-subjective or public validation of penitent trances, visions and rapture as culture rather than as pathology.

Cruelty, Its Origins, Its Fates - (TEXT ON-LINE)
René Major

Anthropology and the Human Imagination
Benjamin Kilborne
    Keywords: Renaissance Humanism ­ Epistemology ­ Imagination ­ Science - Fieldwork

    This paper argues that not only "evidence" or "observation" is essential for the discipline of Anthropology. More fundamentally still, it is imagination that is indispensable. Inasmuch as this is so, there are epistemological consequences to such a position. The author turns to the distinction made by Giambattista Vico between "il vero' and "il certo" to point up epistemological divides between the Humanities and Social Sciences, on the one hand, and the Natural Sciences, on the other.

Paths of Power: Psychoanalysis and Sorcery - (TEXT-ON-LINE, NOT ON PAPER)
Marie Coleman Nelson


Moments of the Self: A Conversation with Vincent Crapanzano - (TEXT ON-LINE)
Anthony Molino


Ernesto De Martino, The Land of Remorse
Wesley Shumar

Patricia Gherovici, The Puerto Rican Syndrome - (TEXT ON-LINE)
Janet Thormann