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Freud after Bataille: Death, Dissolution and the 'Oceanic' Feeling

Reynolds, Rebecca A (2019) Freud after Bataille: Death, Dissolution and the 'Oceanic' Feeling. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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This investigation examines how the uneasy relationship between death and representation plays out across three overlapping modalities – text, body, and image. Drawing from Freud’s formulations, I trace out the paroxysmal movements of the death drive in concurrence with narcissism, masochism, and the uncanny, arguing that the theoretical indeterminacy of these concepts might be ascribed to the manner in which they interrogate, exceed, and destabilize the prevailing perception of the self as an integrated whole. As a situation of subjective/symbolic rupture, perhaps it is not “possible” to think beyond the limit that death poses for psychoanalytic theory. However, I propose that reconsidering Freudian metapsychology in light of Georges Bataille’s work on transgression and excess allows us to think across said limit. In deploying this highly dynamic approach, I elaborate on the role of death in the drive economy and, subsequently, its potential association with the ‘oceanic’ feeling that Freud acknowledges (but quickly dismisses) as a motivation for religious belief. Considering death and its corresponding drive through the ontological oscillations they provoke, I argue, expands the field that constitutes their manifestations and opens up new avenues of inquiry via potential applications in religion and aesthetics.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Georges Bataille, metapsychology, death drive, abjection, mysticism, aesthetics
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BD Speculative Philosophy
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Rebecca Reynolds
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2020 15:58
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2020 15:58

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