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Drichel, S., Ph.D. (2019). Refusals of Responsibility: A Response to Donna Orange and Robert Bernasconi. Psychoanal. Self. Cxt., 14(1):36-52.

(2019). Psychoanalysis, Self, and Context, 14(1):36-52

Refusals of Responsibility: A Response to Donna Orange and Robert Bernasconi

Simone Drichel, Ph.D.

This article responds to Donna Orange’s and Robert Bernasconi’s suggestion that I present a developmental view of ethical subject formation in “Emmanuel Levinas and the 'specter of masochism.’” Arguing that the particular kind of development that underpins Levinas’s account is one of traumatic interruption, I ask what role the ego’s traumatic “prehistory” might play not just in constituting ethical subjectivity but also in closing it down: why is it that ethical hospitality, enabled by what Levinas calls “substitution,” so often finds lived expression in hostile refusals of responsibility? I propose that, to answer these questions, we need to consider Levinas’s “anarchic traumatism” not just from a philosophical but also from a psychoanalytic perspective.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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