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Resistance and PsychoanalysisImpossible Divisions$
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Simon Morgan Wortham

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474429603

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474429603.001.0001

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The University and the Hysteric (after Derrida and Freud)

The University and the Hysteric (after Derrida and Freud)

Chapter:
(p.126) 5 The University and the Hysteric (after Derrida and Freud)
Source:
Resistance and Psychoanalysis
Author(s):

Simon Morgan Wortham

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474429603.003.0006

This chapter turns to Freud’s writings on hysteria at the end of the nineteenth century, notably the case history of Elisabeth von R., where difficulties in walking, leg pains, uncertain balance and ‘locomotor weakness’ prompted Freud to diagnose a case of hysteria. If this predicament sounds a little remote from more conventional questions of politics, it acquires relevance as a way to extend Derrida’s discussion, in ‘Mochlos’, of the modern, post-Kantian university institution as constituted by a bodily division of its parts aimed at establishing proportion and balance but actually giving rise to certain difficulties that are somewhat akin to the ‘locomotor weakness’ that Freud associated with the hysteric. From this perspective, if it becomes possible to consider speaking of the university as itself hysterical or caught up in a case of hysteria, then this chapter considers the question of the institutional ‘politics’ that hysteria might allow or encourage.

Keywords:   Freud, hysteria, Derrida, Kant, the university

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