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Jouissance

From Academic Kids

Jouissance is a French term which translated means "enjoyment" and contrasted with plaisir. In every sense of the word it is whatever "gets you off". Something that gives the subject a way out of its normative subjectivity through transcendent bliss whether that bliss or orgasmic rapture be found in texts, films, works of art or sexual spheres; excess as opposed to utility. It is a popular term in postmodernism and queer theory used by Roland Barthes, Jacques Lacan, Judith Butler, and others. Leo Bersani considers jouissance as intrinsicly self-shattering, disruptive of a 'coherent self'.

For Barthes (1977, p.9) plaisir is, "a pleasure...linked to cultural enjoyment and identity, to the cultural enjoyment of identity, to a homogenising movement of the ego." As Richard Middleton (1990, p.261) puts it, "Plaisir results, then, from the operation of the structures of signification through which the subject knows himself or herself; jouissance fractures these structures."

Source

  • Middleton, Richard (1990/2002). Studying Popular Music. Philadelphia: Open University Press. ISBN 0335152759.
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