Monday, November 9, 2009

on abjection

Abjection is subjective - it takes an "I" to experience the revulsion, and a web of consciousness and connotations to create the feeling. What may be degrading and repulsive to some may well be appealing to others. What creates the lure of the sordid? Julia Kristeva postulates that it is conditional narcissism: "The abject confronts us, on the one hand, with those fragile states where man strays on the territories of animal. Thus, by way of abjection, primitive societies have marked out a precise area of their culture in order to remove it from the threatening world of animals or animalism, which were imagined as representatives of sex and murder." Confrontation of what is considered abject results in a violence within the self, an internal struggle that is not unlike a voluntary castration. Kristeva continues, "The more or less beautiful image in which I behold or recognize myself rests upon an abjection that sunders it as soon as repression, the constant watchman, is relaxed."