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Having A Life by Lewis A. Kirshner

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3 The Cultural Construction of Affect

The affect is not like a special density which would escape an intellectual accounting. It is not to be found in a mythical beyond of the production of the symbol.

—JACQUES LACAN

IN THIS CHAPTER, I DO NOT ATTEMPT A COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW OF THE topic of affect, which is obviously huge and partakes of many disciplines. What I would like to explore is the perspective on affect as symbolic, that is, as culturally constructed and transmitted. In this sense, it becomes an important mediating vehicle between the private psychobiological subject and the world of other subjects in which he or she must find her place. The notion of the symbolic construction of affect emphasizes the shaping and differentiating of emotion ...

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