Posted by: Johan Normark | April 19, 2011

The uncanny territory of the home

I came to think of last Thursday’s seminar on Freud and Derrida when I went through my own notes from another book this afternoon. At the seminar the difference between the German word heim (home or hem in Swedish), heimlich (secrecy or hemlighet in Swedish), and unheimlich (uncanny or hemsk in Swedish) were brought up. The home is also associated with secrets and uncanny feelings, such as Josef Fritzl’s home in Austria. Is this simply something related to Germanic languages? Nope. I came across notes from a book on spatiality today. The word territory comes from terra (earth) and terrere (to frighten). Hence a territory conveys a place from which people are frightened away. Homeland and territory and usually used in the same manner.

Deleuze and Guattari’s discussion of territorialization in A Thousand Plateaus begins with “a child in the dark, gripped with fear, comforts himself by singing under his breath […]. The song is like a rough sketch of a calming and stabilizing, calm and stable, center in the heart of chaos […]. Now we are at home. But home does not preexist: it was necessary to draw a circle around that uncertain and fragile center, to organize a limited space” (p. 311). In short, territory and home is created because of the frightening and uncanny surroundings. Order surrounded by chaos. But what happens when chaos emerges in order, such as in the home of Fritzl? Terror(ism) and homeland security are two sides of the same coin.


  1. une certaine pesanteur du vide
    voila ce qui attire ici


%d bloggers like this: