The Picture of Abjection

The Picture of Abjection

Film, Fetish, and the Nature of Difference
Chanter, Tina
Distribution: World
Publication date: 01/11/2008
Format: Paperback 15 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-21918-3
Bookmark and Share

 Add to Wish List 

Other formats available:


Tina Chanter resolves a fundamental problem in film theory by negotiating a middle path between "gaze theory" approaches to film and spectator studies or cultural theory approaches that emphasize the position of the viewer and thereby take account of race, class, gender, and sexuality. Chanter argues that abjection is the unthought ground of fetishistic theories. If the feminine has been the privileged excluded other of psychoanalytic theory, fueled by the myth of castration and the logic of disavowal, when fetishism is taken up by race theory, or cultural theory, the multiple and fluid registers of abjection are obscured. By mobilizing a theory of abjection, the book shows how the appeal to phallic, fetishistic theories continues to reify the hegemonic categories of race, class, sexuality, and gender, as if they stood as self-evident categories.

Author Bio

Tina Chanter is Professor of Philosophy at DePaul University, Chicago. She is author of Ethics of Eros: Irigaray's Re-writing of the Philosophers, and Time, Death and the Feminine: Levinas with Heidegger, and editor of Feminist Interpretations of Emmanuel Levinas.


The book strikes a felicitous balance between innovative theoretical analysis, the engaging interpretation of the selected films, and the timely discussions of the political issues and the innovative aesthetic apparatus addressed in these films. It is a timely and important project that changes our understanding of the role of abjection both in cultural politics and in the structure of film.

Customer Reviews

There are currently no reviews
Write a review on this title.

Table of Contents

1. Abjection as the Unthought Ground of Fetishism
2. Abjection as the Failure of Protection against Emptiness: Narcissism, Negation, and Klein's Projective Identification
3. Abject Art: Destabilizing the Drive for Purification, and Unmasking the Foundational Fantasy of Castration
4. Fantasy at a Distance: The Revolt of Abjection in Film
5. The Exotica-ization and Universalization of the Fetish, and the Naturalization of the Phallus: Abject Objections
6. Prohibiting Miscegenation and Homosexuality: The Birth of a Nation, Casablanca, and American History X
7. Abject Identifications in The Crying Game: The Mutual Implication of Transgender/Race/Nationalism/Class
8. The Fetishistic Temporality of Hegemonic Postcolonial Nationalist Narratives and the Traumatic Real of Abjection
9. Concluding Reflections on the Necrophilia of Fetishism


Related Titles