Blum [Abstract]

Motive, desire, drive: the discourse of force [Full text]

Alan Blum  [1]

AbstractA review of the original paper on motive by Blum and McHugh (1971) is used as an occasion to make transparent an approach to social theory as it has developed over the years in their work. This method, in treating motive as an illustration, engages it as an example of the status of the signifier as a symptom of interpretive conflict endemic to any situation of action, always inviting an analysis of the symbolic order and imaginative structure that sustains the distinction as a force in social life. In this paper, motive in particular is unpacked to show how it serves as an indication of fundamental ambiguity with respect to a problem-solving situation, revealing in this case constant perplexity in relation to the enigmatic character of what comes to view on any occasion and the recurrent contestation that is released.

Keywords: Motive, desire, drive, self, boredom

[1] Senior scholar, York University, Canada, Executive Director, Culture of Cities Centre,