The fantasy of exile : some reflections on the margins of the "unhomely consciousness"

Publication Type:
Thesis
Issue Date:
1995
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This thesis is about exile, but exile of a particular nature. I take the term exile discursively and textually, with no particular regard to historical specificities it may offer. In this sense I intend to use the concrete to render the abstract, working backwards from the historically and generally recognised condition of exile - the relegated, the diasporic - to its discursive relocation in various forms of narrative, reflection and representation. In this the measure of the exile will be the continuities re d discontinuities of the discourses of its location. The thesis will argue that the exilic subject - that is, the subject of modern consciousness - is the product of a certain fantasy formation of a subjective homeland projected onto the various margins of discourse, history and geography. This fantasy leads to a fascination and identification of things perceived at the margins or the bounds of a psychopathological homeland, rendering the homeland itself the site of alienation. The thesis argues against the positioning of the subject as alienated 'lack' in favour of a subjective and representative plenitude. The thesis will look to various discourses alienation and ideology, with a particular focus on the philosophy of reflection, phenomenology and psychoanalytic theory (the philosophy of the 'unreflected') to trace a sort of exilic affectability that inheres in the representation of the modern subject. The introductory chapter 'Parenthesis' picks at the relation between the discourses of post-structuralist and post-colonial theory, looking to their fascination with the margins and positing a certain intellectual and political tendency to fantasy. Chapters One and Two explore the problem of representation in these discourses with particular emphasis on the disposition of the subject and its relation to its own reading or metaphysical positioning, taking as its metaphor the representation: relation between the map and the territory. Chapters Three and Four look to the ontogenesis of the subject of exile and its reflective and metaphysical positioning in representation. Chapter Five closes the thesis with an exposition on the fantasy of subjective and representative closure. The fantasy of exile as the fantasy of closure proper.
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