Out of the Maid’s Room: Dora, Stratonice and the Lesbian Analyst
Contemporary cultural analysis recognizes that the viewer or reader is the place where meaning happens. This movement towards looking at the spectator, derived in part from psychoanalysis, has been fuelled particularly by those identified, or self-identifying, as on the margins of mainstream culture. For these spectators understanding their relations to cultures and pleasures, as consumers and as contributors, is urgent. The consequences of this shift in focus to relations of consumption have been major for academic practice. Here the position of the analyst-the scholar or critic as reader or spectator-and how it affects interpretation has become a subject for enquiry and critique. Much of the impetus for these enquiries into what psychoanalysis terms the countertransference, or the analyst’s fantasies, identifications and investments in the case, has come from areas of academic activity often seen as marginal or eccentric-including feminist analyses, black and post-colonialist studies and lesbian and gay or queer studies. Many critiques developed from these ‘margins’ have revealed the pleasures enjoyed by the analyst occupying a position at the centre of dominant discourses: they have focused on the discourse of the analyst who is ‘one of them’—white, male and heterosexual. What about the fantasies, pleasures and position of the analyst who is ‘one of us’?