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Themesicon: navigation pathCyborg Bodiesicon: navigation pathMonstrous Bodies

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the crises and reconstitutions of subjectivity. With the numerous challenges of the information age, the androcentric fantasies of an «impermeable wholeness» (Haraway) literally start to flow or lead to dissolution.

All of the authors mentioned make reference to Klaus Theweleit's study of men of the volunteer corps published in his two books «Male Fantasies I and II.» Theweleit's pioneering analysis of the psychopathology of fascism shows it as a borderline case of patriarchy, whose aim is to install ‹maleness› as the norm of subjectivity through the notion of an invulnerable, whole body: In order to sustain this phantasm of the whole, stable ‹body armor,› the male subject splits off everything that might threaten it as a dangerous female floodand- flow fantasy.

The juncture this description posits is from Theweleit, but other feminist theorists as well have brought out the cultural imaginary, which identifies femaleness with the fluid, the monstrous, and the maternal-abject. [22] The ‹ego› is in a permanent state of confusion regarding boundaries: The image of the fluid symbolizes both the threat posed to the body armor by the flowing as well as its literal melting away.


This makes it clear that these images also deal with representations of eminently physchical states of mind, with crises and symptoms that revolve around the junctures of empowerment and disempowerment, with coherence and dissolution, with the loss of boundaries. What the fascist body armor, the cyborg and the fluid morph have in common is that one cannot certify them an ‹ego,› that they are pure integuments and bundles of flesh in a permanent state of confusion regarding boundaries. «It [the perceiving subject] also finds itself in a kind of dissolution. This process, in which the killer as well as his victim lose their boundaries and form an alliance in which a hallucinatory perception prevails that sends the man into a state of trance, appears to be the real aim of the attacks.» [23] Theweleit compares this predisposition for the «dissolution of individual boundaries» with the fear of dismemberment that the infant experiences, and with the longing to fuse with the mother in the pre-Oedipal phase of the mother-child relationship. Theweleit's analysis of this relationship corresponds with the notion of the ‹abject› as developed by the French psychoanalyst

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