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1 Indigenous Fashion: Embroidery and Innovation in Mali

Victoria L. Rovine Indiana University Press ePub

You come from afar, you have brought lots of clothes, everyone sings your praises, the best clothes come from Accra, and the person who wears them is the best.

—Dogon song, documented by Isaie Dougnon

A tilbi is more than a boubou.

—Baba Djitteye, embroiderer, Timbuktu, 23 July 2008

In a single region in Mali, two styles of men’s dress embody diverse forms of social status, attitudes toward innovation and perpetuation of past practices, and sources of stylistic inspiration. These styles, known as “Ghana boy” and “tilbi,” have in common a reliance on embroidery as a means of embodying messages, histories, and identities. Yet, these embroidered garments represent quite distinct approaches to style change, the hallmark of fashion. Neither of these sartorial innovations participates in the global fashion system, which is rooted in Western styles and methods. Instead, they offer insights into different fashion worlds, with their own histories, economies, and precedents from which they draw inspiration. Furthermore, these styles contain traces of local as well as global networks of commodities and cultures, literally made legible in the embroidered patterns and figures that adorn the garments.

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CHAPTER TEN: A Lacanian approach to clinical diagnosis and addiction

Karnac Books ePub

Rik Loose

“It’s a matter of knowing whether psychoanalysts are equal to the task of responding to the anxiety of our time”

J. Lacan

Towards the end of his article Civilization and its Discontents Freud poses a question which he feels he cannot evade. After contemplating the similarities between the development of civilization and the individual he wonders whether it is possible to make the diagnosis that “under the influence of cultural urges, some civilizations, or some epochs of civilization—possibly the whole of mankind—have become neurotic?” (Freud, 1930:144). He immediately points out the danger implicit in making this kind of diagnosis by saying that “we are only dealing with analogies and that it is dangerous, not only with men but also with concepts, to tear them from the sphere in which they have originated and been evolved” (Freud, 1930:144). This is a very important remark.

The tearing apart of concepts and humans

Sometimes, in order to explore a new field or a particular phenomenon for which there are as yet no conceptual tools, the man of science has no choice but to tear concepts away from their original place and position. This must be done with great sensitivity to both the area explored and the area from which the concepts have been borrowed. When concepts and theories are transported from one area of study to another, they sometimes undergo radical changes depending on the object of study and the context they have been taken from. This process can lead to confusion and the criticism that this new application is based on a misunderstanding of their original meaning and application. This form of criticism is grounded on a particular conception of science which suggests that concepts refer to a particular reality or to particular objects in a straightforward and unproblematic way: concepts belong specifically to the objects or reality studied and should not be detached from them and deployed elsewhere. The foundation for this conception of science is a belief that nature contains laws and an order which exist independently of the researcher. Lacan calls the laws and the “order of things” in nature, which supposedly exist independently of the human subject, a “knowledge in the real”. This Lacanian conception of modern science is crucial. It evokes his remarks on the subject of science from “Science and truth”. He indicated there that modern science, which was born in the 17th century, was the precondition for the discovery of the subject of psychoanalysis (Lacan, 1966:6-7). How are we to understand this? Knowledge which exists in nature presupposes a subject for whom this knowledge is meaningful. It also implies a subject who has a desire to know this knowledge. This subject is called the “subject of science” and it is the subject upon which psychoanalysis operates. Modern science made the decision to find certainty in the object and concentrated its efforts exclusively there. Freud discovered, underlying this search for certainty, a doubting subject and set himself the enormous task of studying the relationship between this subject and the object. In this task he stumbled upon the problem of meaning and language as the elements which connect the two, but which also obscure their relationship at the same time.

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6. The Phenomena of Hysterical Materialization. [1919]

Ferenczi, Sandor Karnac Books ePub

“ You have travelled the way from worm to human being and much in you is still worm “ (Nietzsche, Also sprach Zaral/irustra).

FREUD‘S psycho-analytic researches showed the symptoms of conversion hysteria to be representations of unconscious phantasies in bodily terms. For instance, an hysterical paralysis of the arm can signify — by a negative. representation— an intended aggressive activity, a wrestling of opposing emotions; a localized anaesthesia or hyperesthesia, the unconsciously retained and elaborated memory of a sexual contact at that place. Psycho-analysis has also given us unexpected explanations concerning the nature of the forces at work in the formation of hysterical symptoms; it shows us in each individual case that in the symptomatology of these neuroses erotic and egoistic impulses come to expression either alternately or, most often, in compromise-formations. Finally Freud’s latest decisive researches concerning the choice of neurosis have revealed in addition the genetic point of fixation in the history of the development of the libido which conditions the disposition to hysteria. He found the disposing factor to be a disturbance of the normal sexual development at the stage when complete primacy of the genital zone had already been reached. Those thus disposed react to an erotic conflict brought about by a psychic trauma by the repression of the genital impulses and eventually by the displacement of these impulses on to apparently indifferent parts of the body. I should like to express it thus: conversion hysteria genitalizes those parts of the body at which the symptoms are manifested. In an attempt to reconstruct the developmental stages of the ego, I was able to point out that the disposition to hysterogenesis presupposes also a fixation of the reality-sense at a given period of development at which the organism does not yet endeavour to adapt to reality by a modification of the external world, but by that of its own body—by magic gestures; and the hysterical language of gesture may indicate a regression to this stage.

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CHAPTER TWO. Irreverence and violence

Karnac Books ePub

Certain topics are so emotionally laden that some people seem to think that systemic ideas do not apply in such cases. Certain subjects or presenting problems are so sensitive that people have great difficulty moving beyond their own feelings. These problems include many kinds of interpersonal violence between genders, and particularly incest It is almost as though where there are strong emotions, there is a strong tendency towards either/or dichotomization of the topic: black or white, good or bad, victim/victimized. In such instances individual perspectives become so reactive that it is difficult to believe that system theory applies, rather that it pertains only to very nice people. It is as though with certain topics only primitive responses prevail. Incest, child neglect or abuse, and spouse battering are examples of topics that evoke strong emotional reactions that can make effective therapy difficult.

One way of thinking about violence would be to consider the stories that are available today, in 1992. Victim and perpetrator, oppressor and oppressed, equal participation, impassioned and passionless—these are but a few. Two especially seem currently to prevail.

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Chapter Nine - Approaches to the Deep Psyche: Soul Retrieval

England, David Karnac Books ePub

Introduction and scope

This chapter, like the previous chapter, looks at four ways of using imagination to approach the deep psyche. Active imagination and dreams were discussed in the previous chapter. The shamanic journey and soul retrieval are discussed in the present chapter.

The shamanic journey

The shamanic journey has much in common with the extended active imagination technique discussed in the previous chapter; in particular, the principles of active imagination apply equally to the shamanic journey:

• The wisdom of the creative unconscious needs to be recognised.

• Every image is to be treated as part of the psyche. The exception to this principle is where trauma has resulted in an “attachment” (see Chapter Six); the handling of an attachment is discussed later in the present chapter.

• The client needs to be helped to assume responsibility for what the shamanic journey reveals.

• With shamanic work being about the integration of personality, the guide needs to maintain triple vision:

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