Friday, February 6, 2009

Matriliny and Psychosis

In the last class (31/01) we considered one of Lacan's case studies on psychosis - Roger Bronzehelmet. A problem with fastening a button( /a system of buttons) - the Name of the Father - has been implicated by Lacan in psychosis. Of course this would assume a patriarchal, patrilinial context. However, what is psychosis in a matriarchal society (hypothetically), or, more importantly, a matrilineal one?

In a matrilineal system, the 'name' is traced along the maternal line. The Nayars of the 18th and 19th centuries in Kerala, from what I understand, had such a system. Additionally, members of the family lived in the mother's house - a 'taravad' - with neither the ceremonial nor biological fathers living with them. Even if this society could not be seen as being completely free of patriarchal elements, the general social context and power works must have been quite different.

What, then, happens to the nature of psychosis in such a system? Or, in the Lacanian sense, would there even be psychotic instances, in the first place?

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