By Rina Arya (auth.)
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Extra info for Abjection and Representation: An Exploration of Abjection in the Visual Arts, Film and Literature
As we saw in the skin on milk example the abject causes a rupture in the sense of self; it ‘simultaneously beseeches and pulverizes the subject’ which needs to be regained after the source of the feelings is removed (Kristeva, 1982, p. 5). In making this distinction between disgust and abjection, Kolnai can be seen to be rebutting Grifﬁths’ categorization of emotions and is claiming that abjection is both direct and immediate as well as being high order and involving the self. Miller also makes a distinction between disgust and fear: he aligns disgust with removal (of the offending item) and fear with ﬂight (Miller, 1997, p.
40) associated with ‘rhythms or tones’ that are meaningful parts of language but that do not signify anything in a referential sense but are the result of bodily drives (Oliver, 2002, p. xiv). In this initial phase of psychic development the infant expresses itself through a series of non-verbal (and presymbolic) cues. Sounds such as babbles, cries and coos are familiar noises that are used to attract attention, often to bodily drives. This type of signiﬁcation exists anterior to speech (it is pre-linguistic) and exists in the ‘semiotic chora’.
4 It is important to remember that ‘abjection is not a stage “passed through” but a perpetual process that plays a central role within the project of subjectivity’: ‘abjection is thus always a reminder (and the irreducible remainder) of this primary repudiation of the maternal’ (Tyler, 2009, p. 80). In later life, experiences of abjection can be traced back to this elemental scene of maternal abjection – this founding moment of being – where ‘[t]he abject is the violence of mourning for an “object” that has always already been lost’ and is thus the object of primal repression (Kristeva, 1982, p.