Staffordshire University logo
STORE - Staffordshire Online Repository

Das Unheimliche – Unhomely Homes & the Trauma of Post-Ideology: Lacanian Perspectives of the Uncanny, Anxiety, & New Age Occultism!

WEBLEY, Stephen (2015) Das Unheimliche – Unhomely Homes & the Trauma of Post-Ideology: Lacanian Perspectives of the Uncanny, Anxiety, & New Age Occultism! In: The Standing Conference of Organisational Symbolism 2015, 11-14 July, Nottingham University.

[img] Slideshow
SCOS SJW9.pptx - Presentation
Restricted to Repository staff only
Available under License All Rights Reserved.

Download (14MB) | Request a copy

Abstract or description

Psychoanalysis has a tolerance for exploring the crepuscular irrational expanses of the mind and its psychic constellations organizing familial relations. Freud’s and Jung’s interests in the occult are well known, and it is accepted that the paranormal has relevance to psychoanalysis and clinical practice. (Totton 2003) Freud’s dimension of das Unheimliche is located at the heart of psychoanalysis. It is the dimension where all the dictums of psychoanalysis from all its doctrines come together; a dimension where a diversity of theory, research problems and clinical practice coexist. As such das Unheimliche offers insights into the original project at the heart of psychoanalysis and the human condition itself.(Dollar 1991)
Freud's concept involves the standard German negation of the word Heimlich- homely, and is thus suggested to infer its opposite - Unhomely. Implied within Heimlich is the concept of hidden, and by extension, what is hidden may be threatening, fearful, occult —uncanny. The anxiety of das Unheimliche occurs exactly at the point that the two terms come together, at the point of negation. What is homely can in a sublime instant insist in its true guise that negates any barriers between subject/object and psychic/real. Freud's Unheimliche is the central "Knot" of universal human experience, a dimension that emerged within subjectivity and haunts humanity in unity with societal change. (Dollar 1991)
Popular culture abounds with films, TV and video games that explore the unhomely, and there is a resurgence of the occult practices of séances and divination utilizing modern technology. There is a plethora of reality TV shows detailing the exploits of professional ghost hunters, and ghost hunting events and associated social media attract millions of followers; hunting ghosts is so popular it is now pertinent to ask just who is haunting who! However, there is a paucity of psychoanalytic studies of the paranormal. To-date only two books published since the 1970s explore this field and muted psychoanalytic perspectives range across a spectrum from the open acceptance of the Jungians to the staunchly skeptical Lacanians. (Devereux 1974) & (Totton 2003)
Working from Lacan’s later teachings on the sinthome, the fundamental phantasy, and ideology, this analysis considers a model for juxtaposing paranormal experiences with Lacan’s topological paradigms. Utilizing autoethnographic case-studies of paranormal investigation groups this study frames paranormal experiences as a necrological discourse, revolving around anxiety, trauma and neuroses, situated within the Lacanian Symbolic order. Ultimately, das Unheimliche is not just the paranormal; it is a distinct but interdependent discourse of Real singular energy that has implications for the Imaginary order of our personalities and Symbolic familial existences. Whilst manifesting as particular, singular, and universal experiences das Unheimliche and its phenomenon have the flavor of psychosis, but they are structured as a language that speaks, through the unconscious and primary processes, of trauma and the cynical and fetishistic disavowal of the injunctions inscribed in our post-ideological lives. In short, we cynically refuse to accept the Unhomely and its rightful place in the very heart of the ideological survival space we call home, and we are thus condemned to suffer the trauma of the repetitive cycle of anxiety and its repression – through phantasy we exorcise the hungry ghosts in the psychic home we call the human condition.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: For access to the PowerPoint slides please contact
Faculty: School of Computing and Digital Technologies > Games and Visual Effects
Event Title: The Standing Conference of Organisational Symbolism 2015
Event Location: Nottingham University
Event Dates: 11-14 July
Depositing User: Stephen WEBLEY
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2019 08:48
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2023 13:56

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

DisabledGo Staffordshire University is a recognised   Investor in People. Sustain Staffs
Legal | Freedom of Information | Site Map | Job Vacancies
Staffordshire University, College Road, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire ST4 2DE t: +44 (0)1782 294000