Download Arguing Sainthood: Modernity, Psychoanalysis, and Islam by Katherine Pratt Ewing PDF

By Katherine Pratt Ewing

In Arguing Sainthood, Katherine Pratt Ewing examines Sufi non secular meanings and practices in Pakistan and their relation to the Westernizing impacts of modernity and the shaping of the postcolonial self. utilizing either anthropological fieldwork and psychoanalytic conception to significantly reinterpret theories of subjectivity, Ewing examines the creation of id within the context of a posh social box of conflicting ideologies and interests.
Ewing evaluations Eurocentric cultural theorists and Orientalist discourse whereas additionally taking factor with expatriate postcolonial thinkers Homi Bhabha and Gayatri Spivak. She demanding situations the thought of a monolithic Islamic modernity with the intention to discover the lived realities of people, rather these of Pakistani saints and their fans. by means of reading the continuities among present Sufi practices and past well known practices within the Muslim global, Ewing identifies within the Sufi culture a reflexive, severe realization that has frequently been linked to the trendy topic. Drawing on her education in medical and theoretical psychoanalysis in addition to her anthropological fieldwork in Lahore, Pakistan, Ewing argues for the worth of Lacan in anthropology as she presents the root for retheorizing postcolonial reviews.

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The ego, the reflexive "I" (the Cartesian subject) is a fantasy. It does not exist as a cohesive entity, an essence, but is rather an internalization of a specular or mirror image, an illusion that constitutes the foundation of what Lacan calls an Imaginary Order. In order to maintain the conscious illusion of 28 Arguing Sainthood autonomy, we imagine ourselves in terms of representations that alienate ourselves from our own subjectivity (Lacan 1977:19). Structures of knowledge organize the ego and its objects and attribute to them permanence, identity, and substantiality (17), thereby alienating the flux of subjectivity as locus of intentionality, creating an ideology of a self.

But, like the Javanese uncle that Geertz encountered, the subject is inconstant in its loyalties and usually oblivious to its own inconsistencies. This view accords well with the Gramscian view of competing hege- 36 Arguing Sainthood monies: these hegemonies are unexamined ideologies and habits that are contextually specific. They may shape the subject's self-perception within a specific context, but they do not determine all contexts in which the subject operates. In contrast to Althusser's equation of an overarching Symbolic Order with the interests of a specific class or social group or Foucault's focus on the discursive constitution of the subject by a historically specific discursive formation, both of which eliminate any kind of critical distance between the subject and this overarching order, my view restricts the role of the hegemonic in shaping consciousness and the perception of reality.

While retaining Gramsci's idea of the fragmentary subject, I turn in the direction of psychoanalytic theory and critiques of psychoanalytic theory for considerations of a decentered subject that (I) escape the dual pitfalls of positing either a free autonomous subject or a discursively determined subject and (2) more closely articulate the vicissitudes of individual, subjective experience. Aside from the work of the Frankfurt School, which sought to draw together Marxism and Freudian theory,27 it is for the most part theorists who have directly addressed Lacan's poststructuralist reworking of Freud who have found new strategies for locating a decentered subject within sociopolitical processes.

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