Abjection interrogated: Uncovering the relation between abjection and disgust

Rina Arya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Julia Kristeva’s theory of abjection, as propounded in Powers of Horror, emphasises the centrality of the repulsion caused by bodily experience in human life, and explains behaviours in and attitudes to our environment. The phenomenology of abjection bears similarities to the phenomenology of disgust. Both involve physical feelings of repulsion caused by a source, and the concomitant need to reject the source in various ways. Abjection is conceptualized within a psychoanalytic framework where it refers to the repudiation of the maternal prior to the production of an autonomous subject, and the subsequent rejection of disgusting substances in later life. But apart from its role in such a psychoanalytic account, are there any other significant differences that exist between abjection and disgust, or are we looking at a distinction without a difference?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-61
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Extreme Anthropology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


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