chapter  Twelve
Between fantasy and melancholia: Lack, otherness, and violence
ByMargarita Palacios
Pages 21

Psychoanalytic theory has demonstrated that it is able to help in the conceptual analysis of processes of social exclusion and violence (i.e., nationalism, ethnic hatred, totalitarianism) and the libidinal dynamics involved in otherwise regarded to be exclusively social and political processes (Glynos & Stavrakakis, 2008; Palacios, 2004, 2009; Palacios & Posocco, 2011; Yegenoglu, 1998; Žižek, 1997). This conceptual “success”, particularly of the use of the notion of fantasy, in my view has not been paralleled by the use of the notion of emancipatory melancholia. Indeed, it is quite interesting to see that while the concept of fantasy has been used to understand processes of othering, exclusion, and political violence, the concept of melancholia has inspired a variety of research on militant resistance precisely to those acts of exclusion and violence (Butler, 1997; Cheng, 2000; Eng & Kazanjian, 2003; Khanna, 2003). In particular, works on gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity have stated that the “impossibility of finishing processes of mourning” informs political struggles against a variety of violences and exclusions that marginal subjectivities have suffered; that is, the lost object will not be let go.