The human subject is difficult to map for numerous reasons. How do you map somethig that does not have precise boundaries, that is a set of different, intersecting and sometimes conflicting object positions, that is always on the move and that is only partially locatable in space and time? The essays collected in this book untangle these difficulties in new and exciting ways through revealing case study material and sophisticated theoretical expositions. The book contains a wide-ranging review of the literature on subjectivity across the social and human sciences. Essays are subdivided under four main headings: constructing the subject, sexuality and subjectivity, the limits of identity and the politics of the subject. The first part establishes the idea that the subject is constructed and makes this clear through detailed histories of the subject. In the second part, the authors show that sexuality cannot be assumed to be natural in their research on the place of sexuality in subjectivity and subjectivity in sexuality.
Authors continually come up against the limits to subjectivity, the third part of the book therefore takes issue with the idea of a singular, self-conta identity and asks how is it possible to make sense of ourselves when the boundaries which seemingly tell us who "we" really are appear incoherent, or fragmented, or fuzzy, or somehow unreal, or fluid, or on the move. Power relations and the effects of power are consistent themes which run throughout this book, so - in the fourth and final part - authors make space for a politicised subject, dealing explicitly with relations of power whether organised around 'gender', 'race', 'class' or other kinds of difference. The authors gathered in this collection take up the challenge to consider the place of the subject anew. There is a commitment to mapping the subject; a subject which is in some ways detachable, reversible and changeable; in other ways fixed, solid and dependable; located in, with and by power, knowledge and social relationships. This book is moreover, about new maps for the subject: it seeks new spaces, new politics, new possibilities.