Aesthetic Practice as Religious Practice, or Julia Kristeva’s Celebration of The Inner Life: The Imaginary Father and the Elaboration of Psychic Space


  • Joan Kirkby


Julia Kristeva is the modem cultural theorist who has been most concerned to emphasise the importance of the inner life - or of psychic space as she calls it - a contemplative space in which the subject is able to mediate and integrate the conflicting demands of the internal and external worlds. In her view religion, psychoanalysis and art (including writing) have been among the great cultural practices concerned with the preservation and cultivation of internality, of the space necessary for both psychic and social health. It is the establishment and maintenance of psychic space that first enables the process of individuation and subsequently, love, tolerance, compassion and community.