Kristeva's Reformation


  • Kelly Oliver Vanderbilt University



Kristeva, Revolt, Psychoanalysis, Adolescence, Nihilism


In my brief remarks, I consider what it means to return and rebind—that is to say, the significance of the re for Kristeva’s thought.  Kristeva does not just talk about binding or birth, or unbinding or death, but rather rebinding and rebirth, suggesting that it is a retrospective return rather than an original moment that is crucial.  The most significant moment, then, is not the moment of imaginary plenitude, nor the moment of originary loss, but rather the moment of rebirth that comes through rebinding after the loss of plenitude.  Indeed, Kristeva’s insistence on re-turning suggests that there is no originary moment of plenitude nor of castration or loss, but rather a constant movement of compensation for a recurrent loss.  By emphasizing rebinding and rebirth, she underscores not the loss as cutting wound but rather the healing power of signification, always already inherent within loss.  The flip-side of separation is reattachment.  And rather than just focus on the separation or cut, Kristeva looks to that which allows us to rebind and reattach in order to create relations that sustain us.  Both unbinding and binding are necessary for rebinding.  Thus, by focusing on rebinding, Kristeva insists on the process of unbinding and binding, and the oscillation between them.