Julia Kristeva and the Psychoanalytic Study of Religion: Rethinking Freud's Cultural Texts

Diane Jonte-Pace, Santa Clara University

All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.


In this chapter, I will introduce Kristeva as a psychoanalytic theorist of religion, focusing on this theme of exile, displacement, or division. I will first describe Kristeva's life and career, locating her ideas within an intellectual and historical context-finding a home, as it were, for her theory of exile. Second, I will provide a description of Kristeva's psychoanalytic theory of subjectivity and society, noting briefly the relation of her work to the ideas of Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan, and the psychoanalytic object relations theorists. Third, I will discuss Kristeva's theory of religion, arguing that her project has been to retrace Freud's steps-indeed, to rewrite Freud's classic books on religion-from the perspective of her own psychoanalytic and linguistic readings of subjectivity and society.