Henry Krips Fetish: An Erotics of Culture

ISBN 13: 9781853434488

Fetish: An Erotics of Culture

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9781853434488: Fetish: An Erotics of Culture

In Fetish, Henry Krips draws together Freudian and Marxian insights to provide accounts of fetishism and the gaze that afford new ways of understanding the relation of the individual to the social, of pleasure to desire. He uses discrete cultural artifacts as windows through which to view local instances of the mediation of pleasure and desire, demonstrating that users of cultural objects adapt them to suit their own strategic ends. Ranging widely over texts and cultures, he discusses Hopi initiation rites, Holbein's painting The Ambassadors, Robert Boyle's early scientific manual New Experiments Physico-Chemical, Toni Morrison's Beloved, the popular television series Mystery Science Theatre 3000, and David Cronenberg's film Crash.Jacques Lacan's theory of the gaze and Louis Althusser's theory of ideology frame Krips's perspectives on fetishism and the discourse of perversion, which he considers in light of postcolonial theory, the history of science, screen theory, and, of course, psychoanalysis. What results is a work remarkable for its clear exposition and its sophisticated synthesis of major theorists, its provocative argument that pleasure comes not from attaining desire but rather from moving around its object-cause.

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Review:

"Offers a clear and rigorous presentation of several key psychoanalytic concepts and explores the possibilities and limits of their application to the social realm. . . . Krips most remarkable talent in this book is his ability to present . . . complex arguments . . .in economical and accessible prose. Krips shows how the twin concepts of fetishism and the gaze can be refashioned into a powerful interpretative engine. . . . "―Stephen Schryer, Literary Research. Spring 2000.

"Fetish: An Erotics of Culture is clear, but also complex and subtle. Krips's book, like Zizek's own work . . . makes a significant contribution to filling in the gap between social theory and psychoanalytic theory."―Marshall Alcorn, George Washington University, Journal for the Psychoanalysis of Culture, September 2001

"Combining Althusser's reading of Marx and Lacan's reading of Freud, offering a critique of the standard feminist deconstructionist appropriations of the notion of fetish, written in a clear and precise language, Krips's book is arguably the best book on psychoanalytical social theory ever written. In an exemplary dialectical way, it provides a global insight into how society reproduces itself through the deployment of a single concept. A must for social theorists, students of cultural studies, psychoanalysts, and for everyone who simply wants to understand why people act the way they do."―Slavoj Zizek

"Henry Krips has written a compelling and original argument for the importance of psychoanalytic theory to cultural studies. Through an original rethinking of such central concepts as interpellation, fetishism, and the gaze, Krips brings new insight to the attempt to synthesize Marx and Freud. Of course, the value of any such project has to be measured by its ability to enable new critical practices and insights. Krips takes up this challenge, embodying his theoretical work in a series of innovative readings of diverse cultural texts."―Lawrence Grossberg, Morris Davis Professor of Communication Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"A brilliant contribution to the understanding of the psychological dimension of social practices and cultural forms through a new account of Lacan's theory of fetishism and the objet a. His provocative re-examination of the work of theorists such as Homi Bhabha on fetishism and colonialism and Judith Butler on interpellation and the possibilities for resistance is powerfully supported by a series of subtle and illuminating analyses of diverse cultural forms ranging from Boyle's scientific treatises to Cronenberg's 'Crash.'"―Elizabeth Cowie, University of Kent at Canterbury

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