File nietzsche/nietzsche.0807, message 1

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Date: Tue, 1 Jul 2008 16:59:10 -0400
Subject: [Nietzsche] Psychogeography: The Human Body Becomes a Body Politic



The Human Body Becomes a Body Politic

Howard F. Stein

The study of psychogeography begins with the assumption that reality is not
neutral; not simply "there" for the seeing. The scope of psychogeography is
the unconscious construction of the social and physical world. Men and women
fashion the world out of the substance of their psyches from the experience
of their bodies; they project psychic contents outward onto the social and
physical world, and act as though what is projected is in fact an attribute
of the other or outer. What we attribute (verb) to the world we subsequently
take to be an attribute (noun) of the world. Fantasies about the body are
transmuted into descriptions of one's own group, other groups, into shapes
and features of the world. Projected outward, the fate of the body becomes
the fate of the world.

Read the entire paper:

Howard F. Stein:
<> "THE
Clinical and Metapsychological Considerations" 

Psychogeography begins with the vicissitudes of selfhood in a human body and
proceeds outward to encompass the world. The issue of boundaries takes us to
the heart of psychogeography. Symbolic group-boundaries have the quality of
dreamlike condensations. Through boundaries we express anxiety over body
integrity or cohesion versus disorganization, maleness versus femaleness,
pleasure versus unpleasure, animateness versus inanimateness, security
versus danger, symbiosis versus emotional separation (representational
differentiation). How these all are resolved finds ultimate expression in
the delineation of inside from outside: what and who are to be included in
the group, and what and who are to be excluded from it.

Publications on the human body and the body politic:

Making & Unmaking of the World 
(excerpts from Elaine Scarry's book)

IMMUNOLOGY: The Psychosomatic Source of Culture"




We animate other peoples and places with aspects of ourselves. Often more
literally than figuratively, nations become mother- and fatherlands and
fusions of the two. We speak of a "family" of nations or of mankind. Enemies
become "cancers" which threaten to invade or corrupt the "body" politic.
People experience the integrity of the body as coextensive with the
integrity of group (e.g., national) boundaries.

Intergroup conflict is frequently sexualized in terms of intercourse,
sodomy, and rape. Social and physical space comes to symbolize unconscious
process: that is, what is inside is unwittingly played outside ourselves on
the stage of nature and society. Humans live out their fantasies on the
stage of reality. People perceive and act toward other people, groups, and
the phenomenal world as though these were extensions of one's own body,
parts of the body, one's parental figures or parts of their bodies, and
family members and relationships. What philosophers call the fallacy of
misplaced concreteness is heir to the unconscious allocation of the inner
world to the outer.

Please convey comments, commentaries 
and reflections to: 

Psychogeography is a study of (a) the role of unconscious factors in the
perception of natural and social reality, and (b) the consequences of that
perception, i.e., how attributes of the psyche, once projected onto the
world, become the basis for action in the world. In psychogeographic
exploration, one studies how geography, maps, and perceived characteristics
of one's own group and other groups become targets, containers, and outlets
for fantasy.

One's personal boundaries come to be felt as coextensive with and bound up
with the fate of the geopolitical boundaries of one's group. Aggression is
mobilized in defense of the self (Rochlin, 1973), in the service of keeping
a sense of goodness and completeness and safety inside, repudiating in
oneself disavowed parts and impulses, putting these disavowed aspects into
the enemy, intensifying them in the enemy, engaging them through the enemy,
combating them in the enemy, and restoring what the enemy is seen to have
taken away. 

A framework of psychic primacy inverts or reverses the traditionally
accepted causal sequence according to which outer historical events,
geological features, intergroup conflicts, and other aspects of social and
physical "space" simply impress themselves upon the mind and are
internalized. Rather, the dialogue between inner and outer is based upon the
search by the psyche for what Freud (1900) referred to as an "identity of
perceptions" whereby the outer serves as a cathected vehicle for the inner.

The shared fantasy about one's own group and about others is thus not merely
"like" (analogous in certain ways to) dream work, but is dream work of a
very specific sort: one that supplements, continues, perceptually
corroborates, and supersedes-in the sense of making acceptable for entry
into consciousness (and memory)-individual nocturnal dreaming (see La Barre,
1966, 1975). If we must awaken from our slumbers, culture, in its dereistic
and maladaptive aspect, is a way we are able to keep asleep while having to
be awake.


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