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The notion of identification, especially in the discourse of feminist theory, has come sharply and dramatically into focus with the recent interest in such topics as queer performativity, cross-dressing, and racial passing. Identification Papers is the first book to track the evolution of identification's emergence in psychoanalytic theory. Diana Fuss seeks to understand where this notion of identification has come from, and why it has emerged as one of the most difficult problems in contemporary theory and politics.
Identification Papers situates the recent critical interest in identification in the intellectual tradition that first gave the idea its theoretical relevance: psychoanalysis. Fuss begins from the assumption that identification has a history, and that the term carries with it a host of theoretical problems, conceptual difficulties, and ideological complications. By tracking the evolution of identification in Freud's work over a forty year period, Fuss demonstrates how the concept of identification is neither a theoretically neutral notion nor a politically innocent one.
Identification Papers closely examines the three principal figures -- gravity, ingestion, and infection -- that psychoanalysis invokes to theorize identification. Fuss then deconstructs the psychoanalytic theory of identification in order to open up the possibility of more innovative rethinkings of the political.
Drawing on literature, film, and Freud's own case histories, and engaging with a wide range of disciplines -- including critical theory, philosophy, film theory, cultural studies, psychoanalysis, and feminism -- Identification Papers will be a necessary starting point in any future theoretical project that seeks to mobilize the concept of identification for a feminist politics.