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Pregled bibliografske jedinice broj: 963267

The Thing: The Unrepresentable in Postmodernism, Popular Culture and the Cinema

Vrbančić, Mario
The Thing: The Unrepresentable in Postmodernism, Popular Culture and the Cinema 2005., doktorska disertacija, Faculty of Arts, Auckland

The Thing: The Unrepresentable in Postmodernism, Popular Culture and the Cinema

Vrbančić, Mario

Vrsta, podvrsta i kategorija rada
Ocjenski radovi, doktorska disertacija

Faculty of Arts





Hanne, Mike

Neposredni voditelj
Perry, Nick

Ključne riječi
Lacan, Jacques, 1901-1981 -- Criticism and interpretation ; Postmodernism -- Social aspects ;

This thesis takes as its starting point the Lacanian concept of the Thing, an unrepresentable and uncanny entity, forever lost by the subject's entry into the language (the symbolic), which although devoid of any essential defining attributes, assumes the status of the object. It analyses the Thing in the context of Slavoj Zizek's project, namely his interpretation of ideology and power in the post-modern mediascape. Along with Zizek, I argue that postmodernism is characterised by an obsession with the Thing, which is not only traumatic and impenetrable but also a cruel, obscene and horrifically enjoyable foreign body within the social edifice whose vacuous, meaningless spectral presence constitutes the social reality by means of guaranteeing its phantasmic consistency. All chapters are successive attempts (and failures) to reach, to describe workings of the Thing, the dark machine in the centre of the planetarium, and its diverse manifestation, its foundational fantasies and ideological veils, its fleeting occurrence and lasting traumatic impacts. In the first part of the thesis I explore 'The Thing and jouissance' as the neighbour ; the Law and desire in Kafka with emphasis on Kafkaesque traces in the post-modern world ('The Thing and the Law') ; the devil and ideology in Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita ('Devil as the Thing'), and conspiracy as totality and narrative in a society of spectacle originating, for instance, in the Kennedy assassination ('Conspiracy as the Postmodern Thing'). The second part of the thesis addresses the Thing by analysing representation of monsters as an absolute otherness correlating with our 'inner self and 'our' everyday reality in a society of spectacle, reaching beyond the constraints of gender and body micropolitics. With emphasis on film apparatus and popular culture, I analyse occurrences of the uncanny Thing in Tarkovsky's Solaris or Zone ('The Thing in the cinema') ; its sinister multiplication, proliferation and doublings through different means of production. In order to outline the problems and effects of the unrepresentable Thing, the thesis crosses a wide range of theories: the politics of representation and body, gender, Lacanian psychoanalysis, Hardt and Negri's concept of Empire, Frederic Jameson's interpretation of popular culture, film theory, suture, ideology, issues of power and knowledge, political philosophy, literary theory of the fantastic (Todorov) and so on. To summarise, my thesis, following Zizek, I explore ambiguous and contradictory apparitions of the Thing, by focusing on a precarious instant when individuals take comfort in the uncanny, with spectral supplement that preserves the illusion of reality, even subconsciously accepting the horror of this as much better than dissolution in nothing.

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Autor s matičnim brojem:
Mario Vrbančić, (295136)