The concept of spectatorship proposed in this book is indebted to previous
work on the spectator and identification in film theory.1 Thinking through
the psychoanalytic and philosophical traditions that have prevailed in femi-
nist psychoanalytic film theory, I propose a model that takes into account as-
pects of the theories of affect developed by the French psychoanalyst André
Green (1999a) and the American cognitive psychologist Silvan Tomkins
(1962, 1963, 1980, 1991, 1992; Sedgwick and Frank 1995). Until recently
feeling has been a touchy subject for feminist theory. This book is an at-
tempt to develop a theory of spectatorship and affect’s relationship to repre-
sentation without reproducing the sentiments it analyzes. My aim has been
to track, through film texts about Deaf female subjects and through the
interpersonal relationship of facilitated communication among people with
communication disorders, the connection between representation and that
more elusive psychical entity, affect. Work on affect is brought into dialog,
in this book, with the writings of Melanie Klein, Donald Winnicott, Heinz
Kohut, and a set of child psychoanalysts working on the question of ego
development and narcissism in infants and children with sensory and cogni-
tive impairments. From the writings of these child psychoanalysts and object
relations theorists I adapt a set of concepts including projective identifica-
tion, introjection, incorporation, and potential space for use in conjunction
with theories of affect and representation. I suggest some ways of theorizing
I N T R O D U C T I O N
S P E C T A T O R S H I P , A F F E C T ,
A N D R E P R E S E N T A T I O N
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