On Being Haunted By the Present
Amal Treacher Kabesh
University of Nottingham
Why does the past have such a hold socially, culturally and emotionally is the central question of this article. While all temporalities are laden with emotion and fantasy the past seems to have a specific grip. Drawing on psychosocial theory [psychoanalysis and postcolonial theory] to elaborate the concept of the shadow, which I argue haunts subjectivity but this is not just a personal matter as all societies are full of ghosts and phantoms which are laden with socio-emotional weight. While it is commonplace to argue that the past haunts representations and fantasies of the present and the future, I move towards exploring how being haunted by the past avoids the poignant and evocative nature of the present. At the hub of this article is a preoccupation with the following—what would have to be relinquished—politically, socially, theoretically, emotionally—if we stop turning back and become haunted not by the past but rather by our responsibilities to the present and future?
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© borderlands ejournal 2011