Saturday, 7 July 2007

Carl Tanzler

What remains to be determined of course is whether or not advocates of "posthuman" sexuality can, or should be allowed to, shake off their association with the postmodern syndrome that Zygmunt Bauman has described as "the functional love object". Bauman is in effect suggesting that an individual who is less than ontologically secure will not be able to tolerate the kinds of ambivalence/contingency this situation gives rise to. So it follows that "the functional love-substitute" is urged into being by a failure to obtain "the real thing." Such a substitute would perform the function of love by absorbing full confession and supplying confirmation of inner experience, without – and this difference is crucial - taking on board reciprocity in exchange and all of the asymmetry this entails. Indeed, Bauman can consistently go on to suggest that the guarantee of a lack of reciprocity goes some way toward explaining the popularity of therapy with its obligation free form of exit brought about by cancellation of payment to "the expert". As a functional love-substitute, one has a means of understanding why "transference" can take place so frequently in the therapeutic session (Bauman 1991: 205-206).

Once can easily imagine the applicability of such a reading in combination with Stratton's piece on "Man Made Women" to the following case study:

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