Accepted paper:

Emotions and unconcious in Croatian Witchcraft Trials

Authors:

Natasa Polgar (Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research)

Paper short abstract:

An effort will be made in this paper to introduce the Lacanian categories of language, unconcious and affects in reading witch-trial records as main source for reconstruction of public emotions of fear, resentement and hysteria in 17th and 18th century Croatia.

Paper long abstract:

The concept of affects/emotions together with the concept of representation are essential constituents of Freud's theory on the psychic apparatus, so it seems quite unavoidable to explore manipulations of emotions in some arenas of culture without the aid of psychoanalytic theory, namely that of Jacques Lacan, one of Freud's most prominent successors. For Lacan affects and signifiers are inextricably interwoven in the unconscious, which is articulated in the language or is the language itself. An effort will be made in this paper to identify the frameworks within which it is possible to introduce the Lacanian categories of language, unconcious and affects in reading witch-trial records as main source for reconstruction of public emotions of fear, resentement and hysteria in 17th and 18th century Croatia. The psychological dimensions of the construction of witches have not been properly taken into consideration, although court records and narratives about witches would allow such an analysis. Hence the main focus will be put on the process of manipulation of individual emotions/affects and their representations in a public discourse about witches as beings who undermine social order. In this context, it will be shown how manipulation of emotions can lead to re-establishing and preserving cultural norms.

panel Body006
Body, emotion, gender