Abjection is the feeling of loathing and disgust the subject has in en countering certain matter, images, and fantasies—the horrible, to which it can only respond with aversion, with nausea and distraction. The abject is at the same time fascinating; it draws the subject in order to repel it. The abject is meaningless, repulsive in an irrational, unrepresentable way. Kristeva claims that abjection arises from the primal repression in which the infant struggles to separate from the mother’s body that nour ishes and comforts, from the reluctant struggle to establish a separate cor poreal schema, in tension and continuity with the mother’s body which it seeks to incorporate.
For the subject to enter language, to become a self, it must separate from its joyful continuity with the mother’s body and acquire a sense of a border between itself and the other. In the primal fluidity of maternal jouissance the infant introjects the Other. Thus the border of separation can be established only by expelling, rejecting, the mother, which is only then distinguished from the infant itself; the expulsion that creates the border between inside and outside is an expulsion of itself. The infant struggles with its own drives in relation to the Other, to attain a sense of body control, but the struggle is reluctant, and the separation experi enced as a loss, a wound, a want. The moment of separation can only be “a violent, clumsy breaking away, with the constant risk of falling back under the sway of a power as secure as it is shifting” (Kristeva, 1982, p.13). The expelled self turns into a loathsome menace because it threatens to reenter, to obliterate the border established between it and the separated self. The separation is tenuous, the subject feels it as a loss and yearns for, while rejecting, a reenclosure by the Other. The defense of the separated self, the means of keeping the border firm, is aversion from the Other, repulsion, for fear of disintegration.
Abjection is expressed in reactions of disgust to body excretions—mat ter expelled from the body’s insides: blood, pus, sweat, excrement, urine, vomit, menstrual fluid, and the smells associated with each of these. The process of life itself consists in the expulsion outward of what is in me, in order to sustain and protect my life. I react to the expelled with disgust because the border of myself must be kept in place. The abject must not touch me, for I fear that it will ooze through, obliterating the border be tween inside and outside necessary for my life, which arises in the process of expulsion. If by accident or force I come to touch the abject matter, I react again with the reflex of expelling what is inside me: nausea.
Iris Marion Young, Justice and the Politics of Difference (chapter 5)
you are all in trouble now because I found a pdf of my homework and there was a bunch of stuff I wanted to post but was too lazy too type