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Campbell, J. (1999). Ethics and Sexual Difference: Imaging and Imagining a Different Imaginary. Gender and Psychoanalysis, 4(2):167-188.

(1999). Gender and Psychoanalysis, 4(2):167-188

Ethics and Sexual Difference: Imaging and Imagining a Different Imaginary

Jan Campbell, Ph.D.

This paper argues for an examination of an alternative imaginary in relation to an ethics of sexual difference, by focusing on Luce Irigaray's work. Bringing together feminist, ontological, and epistemological debates, this paper theorizes that an imaginary will connect the female body with representation and language. The second part of the article links a reading of Irigaray's more “bodily” imaginary to Andrew Samuels' rereading of the Jungian archetype. Samuels' theorization of an “imaginal” approach to the archetype emphasizes a connection between the literal and the metaphoric. The end of the paper links these discussions to “painting” of the bodily imaginary within the analytic encounter, where the relation to the real of the maternal body is painted consciously and unconsciously through the image. The “painting” of an imaginal relation to the real is seen as a necessary counterpart to mental structures of the imaginary and symbolic and can be seen (in conjunction with Samuels's concepts of the imaginal) to provide a different way of thinking through the imaginary.

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