Reconfiguring epistemological pacts: a lacanian and post-lacanian discouse analysis of Chicano cultural nationalist, Chicana feminist, and Chicano/a dissident intellectual subject positions
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This psychoanalytic discourse analysis examines how politicized indigenist narratives figure into Chicano cultural nationalist, Chicana feminist, and Chicano/a dissident intellectual discourse communities (i.e., subjectivity, discourse, and social space inclusively). These Chicano/a discourse communities are examined from an interdisciplinary perspective using the psychoanalytic theories of Jacques Lacan, Luce Irigaray, and Julia Kristeva. Prior to conducting the discourse analysis in Part II of the dissertation, Part I maps the continuities and discontinuities of the study of Chicano/a subjectivity within psychology, across the subdisciplines of Chicano/a psychology, multicultural psychology, and psychoanalysis. These divergent epistemological positions are placed in dialogue with one another using an interpretive social science approach and then joined with Chicano/a cultural studies discourses on Chicano/a subjectivity. The Chicano cultural nationalist discourse community was constituted during the civil rights era. The Chicano cultural nationalist discourse community organized itself around the return to cultural origins, specifically, around the return to the indigenous origins of the Aztec civilization. Chicano cultural nationalists appropriated the figure of Aztlán, the mythological homeland of the Aztec civilization, as their central symbol around which to configure their discourses on cultural nationalism. The empty signifier, Aztlán, offered a particularly potent vehicle for political mobilization as Aztlán’s coordinates are believed to be located in the U.S. Southwest, where the majority of Mexican Americans reside. After the belief in the possibility of Aztlán-as-Chicano nation faded, the symbol of Aztlán, and its agonist, the figure of Malintzin Tenepal, translator for and concubine of Hernán Cortes, were relegated to the Chicano/a cultural and literary imagination. The signifiers Aztlán and Malintzin Tenepal have accrued a discursive currency in Chicano/a narratives of self-representation which have continued to refigure themselves over time. The Chicano self-identifier has retained its significance for cultural nationalists and has been reconstituted to signify Chicana feminist and Chicano/a dissident intellectual subject positions. Following the analysis of these subject positions, the dissertation concludes by discussing some of the constraints of politicized discourses on Chicano/a subjectivity and proposes a psychoanalytic Chicano/a cosmopolitan discourse as an alternative equipped to navigate.