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Johnson, A. (2002). In The Gaze Of The Other. Free Associations, 9(2):237-249.

(2002). Free Associations, 9(2):237-249

In The Gaze Of The Other

Avril Johnson

Within The Phenomena of consciousness is self consciousness, the latter evolving from the former, describing the process whereby the subject (the child) becomes aware of the Object (mother's) gaze. Through maturity the child becomes aware, not only of mother's gaze, but the gaze of people and images of the world around her.

In Vision and Separation Wright proposed that a child arrives at a sense of his/herself, as both an object and a subjective social being. The child becomes aware of ‘being seen by the Other’; the child beings to know that every act, every movement of her being has an external resonance. The image of the child that the Other conveys back to her, becomes in this way, the form through which she grasps herself and comes to know herself (Wright, 1991, p. 270). The (m)Other gaze, the mirroring function whether transforming (Winnicott) or de-forming (Lacan) is internalized and becomes part of an internal/external dichotomous perception of the self.

Towards a Tentative Hypothesis

Maureen Peal was not the Enemy and not worthy of such intense hatred. The thing to fear was the thing that made her beautiful, and not us (Toni Morrison, 1994, The Bluest Eye).

In this paper it is the de-forming nature of the gaze that I am interested in exploring, specifically the psychological impact of the gaze of the white Other.

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