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The racist bodily imaginary: the image of the body-in-pieces in (post)apartheid culture

Hook, Derek (2013) The racist bodily imaginary: the image of the body-in-pieces in (post)apartheid culture. Subjectivity, 6 (3). pp. 254-271. ISSN 1755-6341

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Identification Number: 10.1057/sub.2013.7


This article outlines a reoccurring motif within the racist imaginary of (post)apartheid culture: the black body-in-pieces. This disturbing visual idiom is approached from three conceptual perspectives. By linking ideas prevalent in Frantz Fanon’s description of colonial racism with psychoanalytic concepts such as Lacan’s notion of the corps morcelé, the article offers, firstly, an account of the black body-in-pieces as fantasmatic preoccupation of the (post)apartheid imaginary. The role of such images is approached, secondly, through the lens of affect theory, which eschews a representational ‘reading’ of such images in favour of attention to their asignifying intensities and the role they play in effectively constituting such bodies. Lastly, Judith Butler’s discussion of war photography and the conditions of grievability introduces an ethical dimension to the discussion and helps draw attention to the unsavoury relations of enjoyment occasioned by such images.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2014 15:54
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2021 00:13

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