Det uhæmmede begær - Vestens fantasier om Orienten

  • Carsten Bagge Laustsen


Desire Unlimited - Western Fantasies of the East This essay focus on the European dis¬course of the Orient taking as its point of departure Alain Grosrichard’s book The Sultans Court - Western Fantasies of the Orient (1998). It focus on historical ana¬lysis of the European discourse on the Orient, and argues that there is a par¬ticular European way to approach the Orient, a way that does not necessarily illuminate the nature of the “despotic” Orient, but rather illustrates the construc¬tion of Europe itself. The distinction be¬tween the Orient and the Occident is central in this discourse. This distinction condenses a number of other distinctions between for example the law and its transgression, heterosexuality and perversion, democracy and despotism. Using Lacanian psychoanalysis and the work of the “Slovenian school” as theore¬tical inspiration, it is argued that these distinctions originate in the projection of perverted excess onto Europe’s “ot¬her”. The existence of fantasies of these excesses elucidate the double bind of European power, which is fundamental¬ly split between official, overt regulations and forbidden, hidden fantasies of trans¬gression. It is imperative to recognize the status as fantasy of these fantasies, which locks us in rigid patterns, and to recogni¬ze that the perverse Orient is a product of European “normalization”.