In this article, from Foucauldian and hermeneutic perspectives, I examine a modern form of ethics that follows a conceptualization of the unconscious related to the trauma of repression, as expressing a divided subject, which will necessarily elude the positive and adaptationist frameworks of normative psychology. I further suggest that, inter alia, subjectification through discourses on dissociation – manifest in Janetian theory, natural science psychology, and interpersonal/relational psychoanalysis – and related techne enjoin the subject to consolidate its experience through autobiographical identity or interpersonal expression. In contrast, the discourse of repression – as evident in classical psychoanalysis as read through Lacanian theory – and its related practices enjoin the subject to embrace its temporal destitution, to engage with the logic and politics of its desire. Finally, I suggest that differing conceptions of nonknowledge as the unconscious, refracted through traumatic subjectivity, serve rival tasks touching upon sanctioned foundations for governance.
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