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Title: The moral psychotic : pathology and homosexuality in the post-AIDS era.
Author: Russell, John Lomas.
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2002
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The Moral Psychotic is an exercise in psychoanalytic critical analysis, applying the theories of Bion, Klein, Lacan and Laing to an eclectic range of popular texts. The thesis presents a reconstructed account of the male homosexual psychotic to place along comparable projects regarding perversion by Silverman (Male Subjectivity at the Margins) and Dollimore (Sexual Dissidence). This figure is the moral psychotic- that is, the psychotic as an intelligible and socially connected subject as opposed to a senseless, anti-SOCial psychopath. The moral psychotic is an integrated nonphallocentric subject and the source of an 'anti-communal mode of connectedness' (Bersani) which is termed 'heterocosmic connectedness'. The prime differential category of the thesis (neurotic-psychotic) is derived from Lacanian clinical structures and established in the first two chapters through a review of the feminist madwoman. Chapter 1 reviews the feminist trauma model of madness and argues that it presents madness as neurotic lack and privileges malignant hysteria. Chapter 2 constructs a model of madness as excess represented by the psychotic subject in the theories of Laing and Lacan and the fiction of Sara Maitland. Having established this mutually exclusive categorisation, the thesis then presents a critique of certain features of neurotic homosexuality to which the moral psychotic offers a radically ambivalent alternative. Chapter 3 reviews two popular models of homosexuality as represented in Assertive Training for Gay Men and the work of Mark Simpson and argues that they both demonstrate a neurotic homosexual preoccupation with the heterosexual male. Chapter 4 observes a neurotic cycle of prohibition and transgression in the discourse of HIV prevention. Finally, Chapter 5 uses the television drama Queer as Folk to present the moral psychotiC in the figure of Stuart Allen Jones whose excess is used within the text to provide a non-phallic satisfaction of neurotic homosexual desire and whose heterocosmic connectedness produces a spectacular form of post-AIDS social liberation from restrictive Social identifications. there are certain costs to the obligation to assemble one's own identity as a matter of one's freedom. And the exercise of choice may be parodic and playful, but it seldom remains so for long. For in the choices one makes, and in the obligation to render ones everyday existence as an outcome of choices made, one's relation to oneself is tied ever more firmly to the ethics of individual autonomy and personal authenticity. To question the costs of this is not to deny its benefits nor to suggest the possibility of a form of existence which can radically escape from the nexus of power and subjectivity in which the very possibilities of contemporary experience have been formed. But it is to pose, at least as an experiment for thought, the question of what an ethic of existence might be that did not refer itself to that psy shaped space which has been installed at the heart of each modern individual. Could one not imagine another kind of freedom, whose ethics were resolutely 'superficial? An ethics whose Vectors did not run from outer to inner, and did not question appearances in the name of their hidden truth, but which ran across the outsides, between, among persons, where subjectivities were distributed, collective and orientated to action? An ethic, that is to say, that did not seek to problematize, to celebrate or to govern the soul?
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available