2022-03-18Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/25944
Decentering the Subject, Psychoanalytically: Researching Imaginary Spacings through Image-Based Interviews
Since the more-than-human turn, geographers have increasingly called for a decentering of the human subject by breaking away from a classically modern understanding of subjectivity and by treating humans as one of many players. In this article, we offer an alternative way of decentering the subject by following the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan. Far from being subject-centered, psychoanalysis aims to understand the subject as a radically decentered and fragile production, which is only secured through what Lacan calls the imaginary. The imaginary combines two realms—image and imagination—and focuses on how the subject generates a sense of the self through spatial identification with images. Based on image-based interviews conducted in Singapore, Vancouver, and Berlin following the method of photo-elicitation, we demonstrate how this imaginary subject can be empirically investigated. We identify five stages in the interviews that help us retrace how the subject establishes an imaginary relationship with an image as well as how it is confronted with the fragile constitution of this relationship. We conclude by emphasizing the potential of image-based interviews to investigate the decentering of subjects and explore ways in which geographers can further decenter the subject psychoanalytically.
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This article was supported by the Open Access Publication Fund of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.