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Title: Bodies that stutter : impersonality, desire, jouissance and the gay male subject in contemporary media
Authors: Longstaff, Gareth
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis examines the formation of ’Bodies that Stutter’ in instances of gay male photographic, pornographic, and networked online media. It argues that these bodies can be understood through the concepts of metonymy and impersonality allied to jouissance in the work of Jacques Lacan, which is informed by earlier Freudian approaches to homosexual identity and desire. It also uses post-Lacanian and queer theory to argue that when the representational exchanges between an Imaginary other and Symbolic Other intersect they facilitate impersonal desire through how ‘Bodies that Stutter’ and the processes of Symbolic-stuttering aligned to them. The thesis draws upon close analytical readings of three contextual instances: representational practices and uses of the website; pornographic output produced by Triga Films; and sexually explicit representation primarily connected to ‘selfie’s’ posted in micro-blogs on the website The analysis of these examples closely engage with Lacan’s concept of jouissance alongside of the Symbolic as a way of demonstrating that personal, metaphoric, and identity based models of gay desire are formed on the basis of how metonymic and impersonal modes of identification simultaneously facilitate and operate as jouissance. This close analysis claims that impersonal desire is formed through the Symbolic Other and Imaginary other in the formation of jouissance. More specifically it argues that recent critical and cultural studies use of Lacanian analysis misrecognises the dynamics of an impersonality of male gay desire and the ways in which it Symbolically-stutters. This thesis also illustrates that the convergence of metaphoric identity in the Imaginary and its metonymic displacement in the Symbolic intersect to facilitate the emergence of this form of jouissance which also stutters. This pursuit of jouissance through the rhetoric of visual representation results in ‘Bodies that Stutter’ impersonally. Yet this impersonality is also connected to the potentials of enigmatic signification and self-shattering of the ego as ways of expressing desire. By locating gay sex, sexuality, and masculinity outside of this Imaginary ego or that which is imagined as uniquely gay it illustrates that it is the gay subjects loss of Imaginary identity that energises them as ‘Bodies that Stutter’ and informs their jouissance through processes of Symbolic-stuttering. Through these interventions and in the concluding parts of the thesis it is claimed that Symbolic-stuttering may form a way for gay male sexual desire to be articulated through an intangible form of impersonal desire. It is here that the loss of jouissance in the Symbolic is the force for sexual desire, a desire which is ultimately impersonal.
Description: PhD Thesis : Some images have been removed due to privacy and copyright issues. The thesis can be viewed in full, on request via the print copy at the University Library.
Appears in Collections:School of Arts and Cultures

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