The term abjection literally means "the state of being cast off". In usage it has connotations of degradation, baseness and meanness of spirit; but has been explored in post-structuralism as that which inherently disturbs conventional identity and cultural concepts.<ref>J. Childers/G. Hentzi eds, The Columbia Dictionary of Modern Literary and Cultural Criticism (1995) p. 1</ref> The most popular of Julia Kristeva’s interpretations of abjection is that of the subjective horror one, and therefore one’s body, experiences when one is confronted with what she terms one’s “corporeal reality,” or a breakdown in the distinction between what is self and what is other.<ref>Fletcher & Benjamin, "Abjection, melancholia and love: The work of Julia Kristeva" (2012), p. 93</ref> Kristeva claims that within the boundaries of what one defines as subject – a part of oneself – and object – something that exists independently of oneself – there resides pieces that were once categorized as a part of oneself or one’s identity that has since been rejected – the abject. Her most common example of this is the horror one experiences when one is presented with a corpse, as it was once a living thing capable of being identified with and thus fit within the bounds of subject, and has since become an object. The concept of abjection is best described as the process by which one separates their sense of self – be that physical and biological, social or cultural – from that which they consider intolerable and infringes upon their ‘self’, otherwise known as the abject. The abject is, as such, the “me that is not me” (ref needed).
Kristeva’s concept of abjection is utilized commonly and effectively to explain popular cultural narratives of horror and misogyny, and builds on the traditional psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan. <ref>Fletcher & Benjamin, "Abjection, melancholia and love: The work of Julia Kristeva" (2012) p. 92; Oliver, "Psychoanalysis, aesthetics, and politics in the work of Kristeva" (2009)</ref>
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