What is the relationship of psychoanalysis to questions of dignity, self-respect and respect for others?1 How, ultimately can we link Freud with Aristotelian concerns for eudaimonia – human flourishing – and for phronesis – sustained moral judgement?2 If Freud rightly tempers Aristotle’s optimism, how might Aristotelian questions illuminate and complement Freudian forays into personhood? If repression is defined as a state of disconnection and disavowal, of nonacknowledgement of one’s own thoughts and acts, then it is morally and politically problematic. Repression generates projection, in which accountability is displaced onto others. However, I argue that in some instances, and given the appropriate cultural means, it may provoke a dialectical return. Such introjection provides the opportunity for gradual reconnection, recognition and, ideally, the acknowledgement of responsibility.
Projection and Introjection, or the Witch and the Spirit-Medium
Questions of Agency and Self-deception as Refracted through the Art of Living with Spirits
The story of a young man from the Western Indian Ocean island of Mayotte who was prevented from a career in the French army by an illness sent by a spirit who possesses his mother inspires reﬂection on the nature of agency. I suggest that spirit possession and the ill- nesses it produces are intrinsically ironic. The prevalence of irony implies not that we should disregard agency but that perhaps we should not take it too literally.
Recognition and Refusal
Proponents of irony can hardly propose a definite theory or even a definitive introduction to their subject. Here we intend merely to review the impetus for our volume and the suggestions we gave our bemused contributors.
Amira Mittermaier, Susan Harding and Michael Lambek
A Portrait in Scenes by Amira Mittermaier
For Saba by Susan Harding
Recollections of a Friendship by Michael Lambek
Paul Antze, Janice Boddy, Lawrence Cohen, Vincent Crapanzano, Andrew Lakoff, Michael Lambek and Anne Meneley
Notes on Contributors
Rohan Bastin, Marit Brendbekken, René Devisch, Allen Feldman, Ørnulf Gulbrandsen, Bruce Kapferer, Michael Lambek, Knut Rio and Kari G. Telle
Notes on contributors