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    Narrative form, "impossibility" and the retrieval of apartheid history

    Hook, Derek (2011) Narrative form, "impossibility" and the retrieval of apartheid history. Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society 16 (1), pp. 71-89. ISSN 1088-0763.

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    Abstract

    In what ways might we aim to retrieve or ‘treat’ apartheid history? Such a question, posed by the work of the Apartheid Archive Project (AAP), leads to another: what are the challenges that emerge in the use of personal narrative material as a way of retrieving apartheid history? The first section of this paper draws on a number of psychoanalytic concepts (ego-speech, screen memory, secondary elaboration) to identify the methodological limitations in the use of personal narrative material in retrieving apartheid history. The second section explores an alternative possibility for such a task and does so by way of Lacan's idea that a psychoanalytic cure entails ‘the elevation of an impossibility to a higher order of impossibility’. Such an approach emphasizes the value of ongoing symbolic activity in response to given (historical, psychological) ‘impossibilities’ presented by the trauma of apartheid. Multiple narrative attempts at grappling with such impossibilities are valuable not because they succeed in capturing the truth of the past or resolving it. Such repeated attempts at re-articulation are functional, rather, because they provide the basis for a new symbolic matrix, which in turn may enable transformation.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): narrative, racism, apartheid, trauma, symbolic, Lacan
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Psychosocial Studies
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 10 May 2013 10:44
    Last Modified: 11 Oct 2016 11:58
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/6692

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