For The Love Of Lacan by Derrida Jacques

By Derrida Jacques

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As illustrations I will present two case studies, one of a black lesbian and one of a white, male, married patient. My aim in these case studies is to show how a Foucauldian approach can be combined with a psychoanalytic approach to enable a more sensitive understanding of issues regarding identity and sexual orientation as well as race. In The History of Sexuality (1978) Foucault’s central claim is that the body cannot be seen purely as a material or biological “fact”. It does not exist outside discourse; what is designated as normal or abnormal, natural or unnatural, depends on the power of institutions such as the church, medicine or law, that is bought to bear on the body.

She wanted to join a group I was running and, since one of the group members knew her, I felt unable to accept her into the group. She responded to my decision with fury, crying and accusing me of being a “fucking white racist”, of shutting her out. She said that the other group member “had everything” and that, as a mixed race lesbian, there was never a place for her. As her rage grew, so did my anxiety that she might smash me or my consulting-room up. However, I also felt intrigued by the relentlessness of her demand and I warmed to her fighting spirit.

My experiences of being bored and non-existent in her presence were becoming much less frequent: I felt more space for my own spontaneity. When I had laughed with her in one session, she told me a few weeks later that she had realized that I was not only cold and authoritarian, as she had thought, but that I could be warm too. She associated this coldness with her mother’s rejection of her, contrasting it with her father’s possessiveness and eroticization of his relationship with her. This relationship with Paula was very precious to Gloria.

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