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The tactile sense of women's poetry in terms of neuroethics

Jeong Jinkyung 1

1부경대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study examined tactile images shown in the poems written by female poets since the 1980s from the perspective of neuroethics. As the combination of neurophysiology and ethics, neuroethics identifies the relationship between the nervous system and the mind. In sensory terms, neurophysiology falls under the category of tactile sense. In view of this, masochistic and sadistic tactile images that have appeared in female poets’ poems since the 1980s are noteworthy. These differ from the tactile images that represented maternal intimacy or the ethics of love that responded to discourses on male dominance before the 1980s. In terms of presupposing the emotions that are formed between “me” and “others”, the tactile sense is highly likely to express the consciousness and psychopathology of women who have lived as “the sexual other”. The first neuroethical aspect of the reviewed poems appears as “physical integration identity disorder” in which women struggle with the desire to continuously remove a portion of their bodies. This disorder is shown as a tactile aspect of inflicting masochistic pain on the mother’s body, which is based on the psychology to compensate for the pain caused by feminine realities using the tactile system. The second neuroethical aspect of these poems is exhibited as “body dysmorphic disorder” that occurs due to discordance between psychological and physical existences. This disorder is portrayed as a tactile aspect of creating the penis or multiple false existences. This implies that the root of pain is men, and at the same, reflects women’s ambivalent desire that envies masculine independence. The third neuroethical aspect of these poems is exhibited as “post traumatic stress disorder” in which psychological traumas cause repeated stress. This disorder appears as a tactile aspect of “the neuroethics of memory” in which traumas are recalled whenever having similar experiences or emotional mechanization, and this aspect indicates how lethargic women can become due to psychological trauma. The fourth neuroethical aspect of these poems is shown as “obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders” which deceive the nervous system using alternative substances. This disorder appears as a tactile aspect of deceiving the nervous system with drugs, which signifies that the loss of “free will” can impoverish women’s psychological and physical existences. As the findings of this study shows, the tactile images viewed from the perspective of neuroethics connote the psychopathology of women who have lived as the non-subject of our society whose subject has been men. In the reviewed poems, women’s psychological and physical existences that had thus far been formed within the manly order can be better understood through their tactile aspects. The results of this study have a different implication from the conventional evaluation of tactile sensation as a political language that attacks men using a lower-level sense or slangs. Moreover, in terms of poetic consciousness, the study’s results are also significant in terms that the exclusive characteristic consciousness of the tactile sense is distinguished from that of the other senses.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.