Abstracts for Critique & Humanism 2/2004

David Ieroham:
The ab/normality that binds us

If we situate “insanity” within the context of the factors which define it, its location is hard to be specified. The one who inquires in it is never neutral, neither is the environment which determines the “policy” toward it. At the same time, the best observations come from the field of psychotherapy, since only there the prerequisites exist (and in fact, just in some therapeutic approaches such as psychoanalysis, psychodrama and some other existential methods) according to which the therapist is to a certain extent also a collaborator of the patient in patient¹s own search for the truth of himself or herself. It is precisely that perspective out of which we try to reflect upon the position of ab/normality through the prism of psychotherapeutic reality.

It is often the case that fundamentalism pushes us to build Programs for inquiry into human relations. They however leave no room for creativity. That is valid for many of the approaches examining the ab/normality and it makes them fundamentalist. The only way out is to introduce the other actor on the scene, or to introduce an “as if”. Only after that we could adequately put “ab/normality” in question and, taking our time to dwell in an intermediate space, to discover the nuances that bind us together.

Georgi Fotev:
Value, fact and norm

Values and facts constitute an ontological antinomy. They get related with the act of evaluation. Within the perspective of evaluating the norm becomes possible. The philosophical-anthropological outline of the problem about value, fact and norm belongs to a limited perspective: beyond those limitations philosophical anthropology slips into enchantment. Disenchanting the problem is up to the eligibility of a reflexive sociology.

Deyan Deyanov:

The logic of molecular performatives and normalization
(a staged dialog between Bourdieu and ethnomethodology)

After the author raises the problem of the logic of molecular performatives and normalizing practices and offers his solution through the methods of the so-called nonclassical transcendental logic, he passes to some consequences of this solution through which one can delineate the field of the new problematic. Delineating this field, the author starts from the relation of the three functions of official discourse to the performative logic of the acts of naming (in distinguishing between affirmative, negative and double identities), passes to the generalization of these three functions so as they are valid not only for agents but also for spaces, times etc. (and not only in orthodox but also in heterodox discourse), considers giving, receiving the gift and converse giving as atoms in a molecular performative through which identities are mutually reaffirmed, to return to the performative logic of the acts of naming, to rethink it in the logic of the gift and to suggest how it bestows the unity of meaning to the problematic of the logic of molecular performatives (in putting Œunder microscope¹ the functions of such modal operators as Œforgiving¹ and Œpromising¹). Everywhere on this path, the author is interested in the ethnomethods of normalization through which the agents come to terms with that dim paradoxicality from which the agents, being in a doxic modality, cannot ever escape – the deviations from what they must do with regard to the identity they have received, the obsessive pathologies of normal life. It is this interest that gives the author the chance to see in the logic of molecular performatives an endogenous deontic logic of practice – with un-pre-given logical forms influenced by the resisting matter, and with modal operators which have not so far attracted the interest of professional logicians. In concluding the article, the author stresses that the consequences of the solution that he offers to the problem raised in the beginning of the article, are especially productive for an empirical program of what Bourdieu calls the theory of practical logic.

Georgi Kapriev:

The birth of insanity out of the triumph of reason

The paper puts in question a predominant and shared position within the debate about insanity between Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida. It is argued that the opposition “reason – unreason / insanity” could not be viewed as fundamentally determining and even less as primordial to the West-European culture in general, if the latter is actually thought to be structurally present since the beginning of the ninth century. The boundary between reason and insanity could be perceived as determining the boundary between cultural normality and abnormality only if we uncritically extrapolate the status of reason which was actual during the “classical age” of reason up to the middle of the 20th century at most. The gradual autonomization of reason (between 12th and 16th century) actualizes that boundary as a fundament defining culture. Apparently, opposition in question was dominant only in a separate phase of the West-European culture. The significance of insanity and its culturally valid existence grew up along with the escalation of the significance and autonomy of reason as a regulator and / or as a constitutive principle of the “proper order” in society and in the world, reason hunting for absolutism. Insanity was born out of the triumph of reason.

Petar Goranov:
Ascesis and desire. A little ethics and a little aesthetics

This paper discusses in an essaystic manner the unbalanced interrelation between ascesis and desire in the Western cultural type, and in principle in every cultural type, together with the anthropological characters who are tied to it. The suggestion is that, on the one hand there is a direct relation of the ascetic practices to the so-called true discourse (the valid “science”), and on the other hand an indirect relation of Desire to the versions and di-versions for a world of an ideological type.

The essay seeks to elaborate a “hypotetic imperative of desire”, and articulates it in two formulations based (not only, but mainly) on two historic examples – Alexii the God¹s man, and Saint Francis of Assisi. According to the first formula, a serial continuation of life through body metamorphoses and spirit imaginations should be preferable to a life immortalizing in all legitime forms of religious pathos (resurrection, reincarnation, etc.). Following the second formulation, world should be nothing but the life in it, the forms of living. And the only reliable way both to remain in life and repeat it would be the desire. That is why the text aims – against the background of (and opposing to) a conception of truth – at sketching out the possibility of an ethics as a micrology of desire that feeds ideologically the living itself.

Galina Goncharova:

Reason/disease in the “Readings” of the (Neo)Enlightenment of 19th century

The current text considers the dichotomy reason/disease to be basic for the nineteenth-century thinking. For a starting point we choose a speculative, forcefully setting the context of the (neo) Enlightenment, reading of two cultural situations, which represent this dichotomy: the exhibitions of automata at the beginning of the century and the hypnotic seances at the end of the century. Through these situations we pinpoint the “substitution “and positioning of the “unsound mind” as a non-exemplary and deconstructed body, existing only because of the publicity and the enlightening common sense.

We fix and prove this “substitution” through a parallel presentation of two different scientific strategies, dealing with reason and disease: positivism and psychopathology, as well as the corresponding with them utopian socialism and eugenics.
For this purpose we analyze separate epistemological and explanatory models as “rubrics” of the Enlightenment: “the exact science”-“the statistics of symptoms”, “the system of sciences”-“united psychosis”, “evolution-degeneration”, “the harmonic societies”-“the aggregation of the socially-harmful”. As a result of these we can distinguish the “common topoi” of the two discourses-the ideas about the scientific character and unity of knowledge, as well as about the genesis and gracious organization of the human/natural world.

Finally, we close the circle of reflections upon the chosen problematic with the question about the “embodiment” of reason by the Enlightenment and about the etymology of the “sound mind” with its two important moments: the shared property of formal rationality -“the clear and distinct ideas”-and the community of everyday rationality- the social exchange of interests and needs. From here we can specify the inner logic of the Enlightenment programmes-from reason as a body or “health” and reason as an example/model to reason as a norm, making probable and conceivable the “common topoi” of positivism and psychopathology.

Martin Kanushev:

Psychiatric expertise and deviant behaviour: toward the archaeology of juridical-medical power

The paper is a further attempt to build a non-traditional sociology of social deviation – a sociology which goes beyond the “description”, the “explanation” and the “prognosis” of those “asocial” practices and reaches to the conditions of possibility of their existence. It is not a traditional one also because it does not take the deviant behaviour for granted and does not reduce its sociological examination to rendering a complete and rigorous classification into visible forms. It does not afterwards aim at “discovering” the factors and reasons which generated the deviations, the social structures and processes that reproduced them, all that by means of the “best grounded” theoretical model, by applying the “most adequate” scientific approach”. On the contrary, through an inquiry into the relation between “truth and knowledge” in the framework of the present-day juridical-medical power, the paper demonstrates how the deviant behaviours were born, how a new normative space was gradually constituted and started to get fulfilled by deviant individuals. In short, the thesis states that the modern society, law and jurisdiction by means of the new principles and organization of the power to judge and punish had from within produced the historical conditions of possibility for the emergence of the social deviations. In other words, the subject matter of that sociological research are the social, hence non-juridical and quasi-medical functions of one of the contemporary methods to regulate the deviant behaviours – the juridical psychiatric expertise and the “legitimate rights” related to it. The starting and guiding assumption is that this method for normalization and the very prerogatives to normalize stemming from it are not merely a result of the inclusion of medical knowledge into juridical power and vice versa. That is a kind of power which relies on the juridical and medical institutions but which also possesses its own autonomy, its own particular normativity and its own regulating rules in itself. As a matter of fact, the emergence of the power to normalize the deviant behaviours, the way it took shape, the way it had been constituted through a whole network of relations between different institutions constantly increase its strength in our society. That is the focus through which the emergence of the present-day juridical-medical order is analyzed.

Nina Belova:

The price of violent criminality – ethical and psychological aspects

The article considers the ethical and psychological aspects of the price of violent criminality. Its specifics are presented by means of comparison with the economic and social aspects of the price of violent criminality. The sources of information that have been used in the article are the following:

… police statistics,
… criminal cases considering violent crime delinquents,
… forensic medicine expertises considering violent crime victims,
… questionnaires with police officers, experts in medicine, pedagogues and representatives of non-governmental organizations, made in connection with researches of the Institute of criminalities and criminology-Ministry of Internal Affaires.

The basic aspects of analysis in the article are the degree of criminalisation and victimization of various social groups and the destructive influence that violence has on social climate.

The preventive role of different subjects in reducing the price of the violent criminality is pointed out in the article.

Stilian Yotov:

The Terrorism as a Pathology

The paper displays the disproportions in the very contents of the notion of terrorism in four aspects: the split of action, the role of terror, the relation to state and the relation to other sub-national actors. That is used to reveal the utilization of the concept “terrorism” within the context of practices of exclusion, disrespect and denigration, which in turn allows for a discussion about the extent of its political acceptability as mechanism of defense.

Elena Alexieva:

Representations of fascism is Don DeLillo’s White Noise and Michel Tournier’s Le roi des aulnes through the eyes of existential semiotics

The present article does not offer a comparative analysis of the two novels, DeLillo’s White Noise and Tournier’s Le roi des aulnes. Rather, it attempts to reveal how, with the use of the existential-semiotic model, the representations of fascism in both works turn out to be part and parcel of the life projects of their characters. This situation, paradoxical as it might seem, deserves a careful semiotic reading since in both cases the specific and original representations of fascism support the very idea of survival, that is, they appear as important fragments of the world and milestones in building the relations between individual and environment. To this end, the concept of existential semiotics is employed, as developed by Eero Tarasti. It allows to follow closely the dynamics of sign in both novels, and thus, to observe the extreme cases of signification they exemplify. Therefore, while Le roi is saturated with an apocalyptic feeling in the face of the freely floating symbol, where the signifier becomes attached to numerous arbitrary signifieds and the roles of signifier and signified are reversed, White Noise goes even further in suggesting a situation of “abandoned meanings” (in DeLillo’s own phrasing), in which meaning itself is rendered impossible. In both novels representations of fascism, in the broadest sense, are the ones which illustrate these processes. Existential semiotics, on the other hand, provides the relevant standpoint and instruments that enable a dynamic rather than static approach – one of its major advantages compared to classical semiotics.

Dimitri Ginev:

Towards the Ontology of Transgression

This paper follows the view that homosexuality is not a name for a reified “state of affairs” but part of an ongoing interrelatedness of discursive practices. Within the open network of this interrelatedness a constant transgression of supposedly firm dichotomies takes place. The paper explores basic ways in which homosexuality poses a particular challenge to the cognitive stability and epistemological rationality of human-scientific discourses. It tries to answer the question of the relevant theoretical discourse that is able to reflect upon the homosexual being-in-the-world (and in particular, upon homosexuals as producers of signs). Finally, the paper aims at rethinking the issue of the “gay outlaw”.

Stanimir Panayotov:

The Normative Problem of Homosexual Subject: Gay & Lesbian Studies and Queer Theory

The paper focuses on, to begin with, the normative problem of the construction and studying of homosexuality and its subjects. Secondly, through a brief overview of homosexuality¹s construction and pathologizing, to be shown how it was possible to be defined the state of sexuality¹s normal subject. Thirdly, how the sexuality¹s normal subject and its other have been both constructed. From then on I am trying to show how homosexuality¹s defining situates its subjects in a position of oppression, study and medicalization. As a consequence of 20th century sexual liberation and gay liberationism and the influence of Foucault¹s theory of sexuality – by adopting “the thesis of repression” as a mere theory of power – the re-writing of sexual identities seems to be redundant, since repression has been substantialized as much as the very subject of sexuality. Hence all the derivative problems over the establishment of new concepts and categories – all they appear to be as (self) repressing as the outdated psychiatry theories. In brief, the study and the re-definition of homosexuality begin to postpone themselves through intra-academic quarrels over method, concept, object, history. The controversies between gay and lesbian studies and queer theory are considered, and the introduction of a new identity concept – queer, through which it is not only homosexuality¹s subject that is deconstructed, demedicalized, and de-categorized, but also the ones of the sex-gender dichotomy, as well as all the sexual identities – as a refusal from sexualities¹ defining, and as possible sexualities.

Gergana Mircheva:

The Bulgarian Eugenic Project in the 1920s and the 1930s and the Normative Code of the “Native”

This text deals with the debate among Bulgarian jurists and representatives of the bio-medical and psychiatric competence in the 1920s and the 1930s, upon the advantages of eliminative and selective racial hygiene. The initiatives for elaboration of a legal sterilization act in Bulgaria, affecting different categories of “little value” individuals, are treated here as the core of the unrealized Bulgarian eugenic project.

The text is an attempt for its cultural-historical reconstruction upon two parallel and interdependent conceptual levels.

The genealogy of Foucault is a methodologically leading perspective towards the eugenic discourse as an aspect of the discourse on the abnormal. A conclusion is made that the normative patterns imposed on the physical and the psychical status are produced as a result of strategic ambiguous replacements of medical, organic norms and norms of behaviour (socio-moral and legal conventions).

Parallel to this level of the analyses, the clichés and characters of the European racial discourse and that on the abnormality are problematized on a different level – as modified in their Bulgarian cultural situation. During the discussion on the arguments for “health qualification” and disqualification of publicity, a utopian project for Bulgarian cultural identity is presented. Crucial role for the normalization of the Bulgarian society is assigned to the stable and dominant ethnonimical code of the “native” and its modification as psychosomatic. The pretensions of the medical-psychiatric discourse to monopolize the knowledge of the model man are re-interpreted with the values of the “race” as knowledge of the model Bulgarian. Culturally preconditioned images of the Bulgarian people as a collective organism and its eugenic transformations are treated in the text within the utopian horizon of the so called “right wing project”.

Ivo Hristov:

The Challenges in the Face of Bulgarian Juridical Modernization
1878 – 1944

The paper puts and reviews the problem of the genesis and the general profile of the Bulgarian juridical system during the period between 1878 and 1944. It is argued that the Bulgarian legislation during that period had changed its character from a dispositive into a mostly imperative law for reasons laying behind the specificity of the Bulgarian modernization process. The fact that modernization here was mostly implemented by the state, imprints a peculiar mark on the whole modernization process. Caught objectively in a “tight corner” by the imperative of the “delayed development”, the Bulgarian state had neither the time, nor the resources for a historical development realized by spontaneous non-governed social forces. The “normal” course was here replaced by active state interference. That interference started to “bring into being” with the help of the public law branches. With respect to the Bulgarian historical situation they had the advantage to constitute a set of rules with mostly instructive and imperative character. That however in its turn led to a pretty peculiar profile of the law regulation turning the latter into a state instrument which predetermined the close dependence between law and state within the Bulgarian social context. Within that context there was no room for the “society”. And while that conjuncture lasts, the law here will remain a “gate in the field”.

Ivan Kyosev:
Legal rules analogy /analogia legis/ as a method to overcome legal gaps in the process of application of the Law

The subject matter of this article is “analogia legis” as a method to overcome the legal gaps in the process of the application of the Law. It comprises particular rational procedures which present the specific legal attributes of “analogia legis”.

The following sequence of procedures are applied by the judge whenever a legal gap is recognized:
1. The judge considers the presence of any explicit legal prohibition as a reason against using “analogia legis”.
2. The detection of a legal rule to serve as a juridical basis for the resolution of the case.
3. Thirdly, the judge estimates the agreement between the detected analogical legal rule and: a/ the purpose of the particular legal normative act, where a legal gap could be found; b/ the rules of morality.
4. As a fourth stage comes up the development of a specific, so called “case rule” by means of the structural and functional analogy on the basis of the analogical legal rule.
5. The last stage of the procedure is to overcome the legal gap through the analogical, individually-made “case rule”.

The method of “analogia legis” has been illustrated with an example taken from the Bulgarian legal environment where a typical case of legal gap and its overcoming by means of analogia legis has been presented and analysed.

Published 6 October 2004
Original in English

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