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Violation as Castration-gone-wrong”

In an earlier post I was working through a part of a text by Avery F. Gordon, and attempted to link what haunts to a violation that has been covered over or repressed.

Today I’ve been thinking about what would constitute a violation. What I’ve started to think is that one way to think of a violation that leads to haunting is when castration is too much, and I want to write out my thoughts.


When I write castration” I mean symbolic castration, in a Lacanian sense of the word. To be (symbolically) castrated is to lose the fantasy of omnipotence, the fantasy of control over our…

  1. Social lives
  2. Economic lives
  3. Environment
  4. Even our bodies

Castration is becoming aware of the fact that we can’t have all that we want to have, that we can’t be all the things we would like to be, because we are very limited by our particular subjective status and our particular circumstances.

Castration is an inevitable part of life.

We are castrated by others who are more powerful than us. Usually this starts with our parents, but it extends to other people who have power over our life and our body.

Not all castration is a violation. When our parents don’t let us have cake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner we are castrated but not violated.

Castration that is too much, Castration that is over done:

I would argue that castration is never pleasant, but that sometimes a person is subjected to castration in a way that is too much, and this sort of castration that is too much is a violation.

Castration that is too much is when a person (or group of people) are brutalized at the hands of people and other systems that have lots of power.

Some examples that come to mind:

  1. Slavery (the institution) / The personal experience of being a slave.
  2. The Holocaust / The personal experience of being in a Nazi concentration camp.
  3. Poverty / The personal of growing up poor.

When we are exposed to violating castration we were haunted:

When a person or a group is exposed to a violation (too much castration) that violation is often covered over by the powerful others (other individual and other systems) who were the violators.

But just because something is covered over does not mean that it did not happen!

The covered over violation may have been buried, but it’s ghostly form reaches out from the grave and disrupts life-as-normal.

Up next What would Hauntography entail? Lifeworld | Ghostworld
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