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List of Theoretical Terms Oedipal Complex, Repression, Unconscious

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List of Theoretical Terms for Midterm Exam

  1. Oedipal complex
  2. Repression
  3. Unconscious
  4. Uncanny
  5. Doubling
  6. Imaginary or Presymbolic Order
  7. Mirror Phase
  8. Symbolic order
  9. Law of the Father
  10. Petit objet “a”
  1. Real lack in the Other that causes desire; forever unattainable, desire is sustained / partially satisfied through the substitution of objects intended to fill this lack.
  1. S/s
  1. The signifier dominates over the signified, prevalence of language over the Real; the word kills the Thing
  1. The Real
  1. Inaccessible realm which is beyond the reach of signification / outside the Symbolic
  1. The Other and the other
  1. Lacan: Other as the locus of the signifier, structures the subject; other as individual others we encounter in our daily life.
  1. Structuralism
  1. Theoretical/critical movement which sought to delimit meaning through the identification of binary oppositions within a text
  1. Différance
  1. Each sign differs (only has meaning through its difference from other signs) and defers (meaning is never fully present, is endlessly deferred down the chain of signifiers); meaning is dispersed, divided, never fully at one with itself
  1. Deconstruction
  1. Name given to the critical operation by which such oppositions can be partly undermined, or by which they can be shown partly to undermine each other in the process of textual meaning
  1. Transcendental signifier
  1. The sign which would give meaning to all others; intended to found the system of language, it must therefore be outside language; the sign around which all others revolve; would have to be meaningful in itself, fully present to itself, not subject to différance.
  1. Patriarchal binary thought
  1. Binary oppositions are heavily imbricated in the patriarchal value system: each opposition can be analyzed as a hierarchy where the ‘feminine’ side is always seen as the negative, powerless instance; for one of the terms to acquire meaning, it must destroy the other.
  1. Écriture féminine
  1. Texts that ‘work on the difference,’ strive in the direction of difference, struggle to undermine the dominant phallogocentric logic, split open the closure of the binary opposition and revel in the pleasures of open-ended textuality.
  1. The other bisexuality
  1. Multiple, variable, and ever-changing, consisting of the ‘non-exclusion either of the difference or of one sex,’; doesn’t annul differences, but stirs them up, pursues them, increases them.
  1. Essentialism
  1. Biological determinism; the idea that social norms/roles express an essence that is contained within one’s biological makeup.
  1. Anti-essentialism
  1. The idea that there is no deep essence that is expressed in social roles and norms, that these are constructed socially, that they were made and can thus be unmade.
  1. The Semiotic
  1. Displaces Lacan’s triad of Real-Imaginary-Symbolic onto a duality of Semiotic-Symbolic (partakes of elements of both the Lacanian Imaginary and Real); A pattern or play of forces which we can detect inside language, and which represents a sort of residue of the pre-Oedipal phase; criss-crossed by a flow of ‘pulsions’ or drives which are at this point relatively unorganized.
  1. Hudgins vs. Wright
  1. 1806 case in which three generations of women sued for freedom on the grounds that they had a free maternal ancestor (one’s status followed the maternal line); in order to assign the burden of proof, the court was forced to devise a racial test, which consisted of classifying the features of their faces and hair; they won their freedom because the mother (Hannah) had long, straight hair.
  1. Ozawa vs. the United States
  1. 1922 case in which Japanese-born Takao Ozawa applied for citizenship as a white person. The court decided that racial boundaries could not be limited to skin color, as this varies considerably within races. If one were to use this criterion, many ‘non-white’ people would have to be considered white, and some ‘white’ people would have to be excluded.
  1. A fabricated American Africanism



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