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Hook, D. (2002). The Other Side of Language: the Body and the Limits of Signification. Psychoanal. Rev., 89(5):681-713.

(2002). Psychoanalytic Review, 89(5):681-713

The Other Side of Language: the Body and the Limits of Signification

Derek Hook, Ph.D.

Once the world is declared to have become representation, and the real drops out of the system, the cultural sphere should be at peace, orbiting in the serene spaces of virtual reality. But the surprising consequence of the conversion of reality into spectacle is its obverse: a tremulous sensitivity to the real, an acute awareness of the moments when the virtual reality is disturbed, when it comes up against and hits that which it has notionally expelled from its system. Precisely because the system of discursive representation is supposed to have embraced everything there is… the subject's brushes with the real have a force they never possessed prior to the totalization of representation into “reality.” (Bryson, 1996, pp. 220-221)

The recent “turn to the text,” like the adherence to the notion of discourse, and the discursive or constructed nature of social reality, has come to represent something of a priority in much critical contemporary work in the social sciences, humanities, and arts.

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