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The ambivalence of resistance and identity: Using psychoanalysis in a case study of "Gringo Magazine".

Dashtipour, Parisa (2009) The ambivalence of resistance and identity: Using psychoanalysis in a case study of "Gringo Magazine". PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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There is a lack of critical social psychological research which sufficiently investigates the complexities of resistance to racism. The main question which has motivated this research is how can we understand the affective aspect of resistance to racism and identity, along with the multiple and unconscious processes and dynamics of identity, without falling back to individualism, essentialism and determinism. This thesis suggests how Lacanian psychoanalysis can be used to highlight the ambivalent, overdetermined and libidinal nature of such resistance processes. The Lacanian subject is a split subject, a subject of lack, and thus I argue that resistance to racism is much more than simply about 'knowledge' or 'agency'. Social Identity Theory is also reinterpreted and criticised along these lines. It is by taking seriously not only issues of power, but also Lacanian notions of the big Other, desire, fantasy and the three registers of subjectivity (Real, Symbolic and Imaginary) that we can recognise why resistance to racism can be an ambivalent and contradictory process. A type of discourse analysis which is in constant dialogue with significant psychoanalytical notions is adopted in order to examine the Swedish anti-racist magazine Gringo. Firstly, I understand Gringo's renegotiation of the immigrant (or blatte) as being in relation to the desire of the big Other. On the one hand. Gringo conforms to the ego-ideals of the Swedish big Other and on the other hand, it resists these ego-ideals by fetishising the representation of blatte. Secondly, I show that the magazine may challenge Swedishness at a Symbolic level, but there is still an attachment to this identity at the levels of the Imaginary or the Real. This ambivalent nature of Gringo's critique of the Swedish identity has not prevented some members of the public from perceiving Gringo as a threat to a narcissistic notion of Swedishness. Thirdly, I argue that Gringo's challenge to institutional racism and exclusion can be categorised in-to three groups: critique in the form of humour/jokes, hysterical critique and obsessional critique. The study concludes that Gringo may have made overt and unsettled certain of the constituent elements of the fantasy of Swedishness, but its overriding function was to evoke a temporary experience of castrated jouissance.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Psychology, Social, Mass Communications
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

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