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Visual Rhetorics and the Seductions of the Monstrous: Some Precautionary Observations
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies.
Number of Authors: 12018 (English)In: Somatechnics, ISSN 2044-0138, E-ISSN 2044-0146, Vol. 8, no 2, p. 163-177Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

What does it mean to look at the monstrous? For many people, monstrous embodiment in its many forms arouses discomfort that is more or less successfully managed through the medium of our differential senses. While the creation of an interval between self and other through sight and representation allows for a reassuring self-security, there is also the sense of a certain destabilising 'yuk' factor present. Yet, our persistent fascination with the monstrous speaks to a profound longing that may manifest not just in curiosity about the strange, but as a form of desire. In critical cultural studies, the complications of Freudian and Lacanian desire clearly provide a platform for understanding the seductiveness of the monstrous, but are now more often surpassed by the celebration of a reconfigured and wholly positive desire in its Deleuzian sense. At the same time our longing for the monstrous denotes a desire for the grasp of knowledge and for the domestication of anomaly. As such I want to expand on the familiar uneasiness that showing images of the monstrous potentially provokes and its putative encouragement of an undoubted voyeurism, to engage instead with a Derridean exhortation to preserve the strangeness, and with an reparative reading through Deleuze that offers reasons to be hopeful.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 8, no 2, p. 163-177
Keywords [en]
the monstrous, representation, Derrida, Deleuze, excess
National Category
Other Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-161125DOI: 10.3366/soma.2018.0248ISI: 000444771000003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-161125DiVA, id: diva2:1259375
Available from: 2018-10-29 Created: 2018-10-29 Last updated: 2018-10-29Bibliographically approved

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