Ambivalence

“The primary site of contradiction, the site of conflicting desires and mutually incompatible representation, is undoubtedly the ‘low’. Again and again we find a striking ambivalence to the representations of the lower strata (of the body, of literature, of society, of place) in which they are both reviled and desired. Repugnance and fascination are the twin poles of the process in which a political imperative to reject and eliminate the debasing ‘low’ conflicts powerfully and unpredictably with a desire for this Other. Edward Said in his work on Orientalism – the myth of the Middle East constructed by Europe to legitimate its own authority – has convincingly shown this operative ambivalence in action.”

The Politics and Poetics of Transgression. Peter Stallybrass and Allon White.