Lacan 101

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makaira
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Jul 20 2007 13:08
Lacan 101

I'm keeping a comfortable 5 book buffer between what I'm reading currently and my next book purchase, so I am not in a terrible hurry. I would like to get into some Zizek/Lacan reading, but I feel as if my grasp of Lacan is paltry at best. I've seen the following:

(1) Looking Awry: An Introduction to Jacques Lacan through Popular Culture by Zizek

&

(2) How to Read Lacan by Zizek

The reviews, however, seem to peg these books as more focused on Zizek than on Lacan. Have any of you read these? Were they as the reviews say they are? Any alternate recommendations?

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jef costello
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Jul 21 2007 01:18

Dylan Evans' An introductory dictionary of Lacananian psychoanalysis is a good place to start, it explains most of the concepts and terms used. Reading Lacan is a lot harder, but the dictionary is especially useful if someone tries to blind you with Lacanian terms.
I think at university they started us off with 'The mirror stage' which was quite a good intro to Lacan and not a bad piece of work. certainly easy to understand compared with some of his other stuff.

makaira
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Jul 21 2007 03:51
revol68 wrote:
otherwise you'll be totally lost.

Thanks for the vote of confidence. Anyway, I'll be going to the library tomorrow to pick up "Looking Awry," because oddly enough we have a large amount of Zizek, and I'll request the book that jef recommended.

Thanks again.

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jef costello
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Jul 21 2007 15:21

Revol is right about reading Lacan directly. His books are based upon lectures that were given to a select group of people who were in a society together, they are difficult to understand and deliberately so.

You also need to have a reasonable grounding in Freudian psychoanalysis to understand Lacan. Although eh has a nasty habit of using Freudian terms and claiming he is using them exactly as Freud did when in fact he isn't.

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the button
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Jul 21 2007 16:26

To me, Lacan's insight is to look at the Freudian oedipal drama, and renarrate it as occuring between a set of subject positions, instead of between a set of individual subjects. Hence "the name of the father" instead of "the father," "the maternal thing" instead of "the mother," and so on.

That made him a lot easier for me to understand, anyway.

Speaking of Zizek, another good one is Enjoy your symptom: Jacques Lacan in Hollywood. Better than Looking awry IMO, but that might be just me.

makaira
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Jul 21 2007 17:58
revol68 wrote:
makaira wrote:
revol68 wrote:
otherwise you'll be totally lost.

Thanks for the vote of confidence. Anyway, I'll be going to the library tomorrow to pick up "Looking Awry," because oddly enough we have a large amount of Zizek, and I'll request the book that jef recommended.

Thanks again.

that was meant collectively, seriously his writings are mental, just try getting your head round some of his formula's. He was essentially a crank who hit on some excellent concepts.

I was being sarcastic; my apologies. I have read a large portion of Ecrits when I was writing an English paper (It was dreadful; the paper, that is). I definitely remember having to slow down my pace quite a bit to soak everything up. I still, however, feel I need some intro level work to construct a stable foundation.

Button, I'll look into that recommendation as well.

lem
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Jul 21 2007 19:39

at a guess i'd say stay away from zizek until you have a good grasp of lacan. maybe try is it fink's book[s] [that's what i intend to do].

am reading ecrits on/off atm, and tbh most of it is fine to understand, tho some isn't [e.g. the second half of the purloined letter e.g. eek]

lem
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Jul 21 2007 19:40

personlly i don't have a problem with the idea that i wanted to posses my mother's body when i was 4 years old or so. i mean it's not as if that's really sexual.

:-/

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the button
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Jul 22 2007 11:17
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nah that's the dull part, the good shit is the symbolic, real, and imaginary triangle and the barred subject stripped of all the oedipal bollocks

The basis of which is precisely the renarration of the oedipal drama in terms of subject positions.

Of course, if your approach to social theory is based on pick'n'mix postmodern eclecticism, I suppose that doesn't matter too much.

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the button
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Jul 22 2007 11:21
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at a guess i'd say stay away from zizek until you have a good grasp of lacan.

I agree with lem. By all means, read Zizek first, as a way into Lacan.

Call me old-fashioned, but I'd hesitate to start bandying an author's name about until I'd actually read some. (Remember the Spinoza thread, revol? wink)

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jef costello
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Jul 22 2007 15:47
the button wrote:
Quote:
nah that's the dull part, the good shit is the symbolic, real, and imaginary triangle and the barred subject stripped of all the oedipal bollocks

The basis of which is precisely the renarration of the oedipal drama in terms of subject positions.

Of course, if your approach to social theory is based on pick'n'mix postmodern eclecticism, I suppose that doesn't matter too much.

pwned

johno
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Jul 22 2007 18:32
revol68 wrote:
…stripped of all the oedipal bollocks

Er, the triangulation resulting from the oedipal drama is the basis of the lacanian subject - the failure of which being psychosis. As far as I understand it, that "oedipal bollocks" is a fundamental to the theory.

I’d go with the bruce fink book – “the lacanian subject”. At the mo I’m reading (on and off) “A clinical introduction to lacanian psychoanalysis”, which is a good book, although its aimed at clinicians.

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the button
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Jul 22 2007 18:42
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Er, the triangulation resulting from the oedipal drama is the basis of the lacanian subject - the failure of which being psychosis. As far as I understand it, that "oedipal bollocks" is a fundamental to the theory.

Quite.

That won't bother revol, though. He'll just flitter magpie-like over Lacan's oevre, and pick out the nice shiny bits to slot into his warmed-over Hegelianism, to make it look a bit more fashionable.

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the button
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Jul 22 2007 20:06

Tarrying with the negative, innit.

johno
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Jul 22 2007 20:52
revol68 wrote:
psychoanalysts…like most specialised intellectuals they put the abstract before the concrete(and yes I'm aware of the necessary dialectic), like the marxist scholars who spend their lives trying to understand every facet of capitalism by closer and closer readings of Das Kapital, like a an adventurer looking for the the big red triangle that is on his map.

Actually, that’s totally the wrong way round. Analytic theory has actually evolved from clinical practice, where theory is constantly ‘tested’ and refined in the context of the therapeutic relationship. Psychoanalysts are clinicians primarily, concerned with working with people often in considerable distress, their intellectual endeavours - arising out of an attempt to understand the clinical process - being secondary to this. Your analogys being off the mark by a long way. Sigh.

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georgestapleton
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Jul 22 2007 20:54

errr the button and johno are right on the oedipal stuff. I'm a bit baffled as to how you can disagree with this revol.

And to makaira the johno mentioned it but I'll push it really hard. If you want to get lacan read fink's clinical introduction to lacanian psychoanalysis. It is honestly 100 miles better than any other intro to lacan.

johno
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Jul 27 2007 10:24
revol68 wrote:
johno wrote:
revol68 wrote:
psychoanalysts…like most specialised intellectuals they put the abstract before the concrete(and yes I'm aware of the necessary dialectic), like the marxist scholars who spend their lives trying to understand every facet of capitalism by closer and closer readings of Das Kapital, like a an adventurer looking for the the big red triangle that is on his map.

Actually, that’s totally the wrong way round. Analytic theory has actually evolved from clinical practice, where theory is constantly ‘tested’ and refined in the context of the therapeutic relationship. Psychoanalysts are clinicians primarily, concerned with working with people often in considerable distress, their intellectual endeavours - arising out of an attempt to understand the clinical process - being secondary to this. Your analogys being off the mark by a long way. Sigh.

sorry I should have been clearer I meant intellectuals in the psychoanalytical tradition, though I wouldn't be so sold on that wee mission statement you just laid out, afterall the big daddy of it all produced the whole elaborate oedepial theory because he couldn't entertain the idea that rich men were abusing their daugthers, well that and the fact he was a horned up coke head.

Well I'm no freudian scholar, but I do think all of his theoretical developments where refinements that arose out of clinical neccesity, at any rate psychoanalytic theory has moved well beyond Freud...

lem
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Jul 27 2007 10:38
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moved well beyond Freud...

:?:

johno
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Jul 27 2007 10:42
lem wrote:
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moved well beyond Freud...

:?:

?

lem
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Jul 27 2007 10:45

just asking which authors are all about being better than freud.

cool

johno
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Jul 27 2007 10:50
lem wrote:
just asking which authors are all about being better than freud.

cool

I wouldn't site a specific author as being better, I just personally prefer object-relations theory to classical fruedian theory - although it is heavily criticised by Lacan. The key people here might be Klein, Bion, Winnicott, and Fairburn.

lem
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Jul 27 2007 11:06

i dunno bit i am reading in ecrits is talking about object relations atm. he thinks it's important at least... should get back to that...

cheers

lem

johno
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Jul 27 2007 11:28
lem wrote:
i dunno bit i am reading in ecrits is talking about object relations atm. he thinks it's important at least... should get back to that...

cheers

lem

Yeah Lacan does pay it some due, seeing it as being within the imaginary, he goes on to emphasis the symbolic, which is fair enough. Object relations is just an excellent clinical theory to work from, of course it doesn't have the same scope as Lacans work though.

lem
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Jul 27 2007 11:52

oh yeah - i could use some info/ref etc. on the link lacan makes between ex phen [psyc?] and obj rel. i don't suppose you could help?

cheers

lem

johno
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Jul 27 2007 12:08
lem wrote:
oh yeah - i could use some info/ref etc. on the link lacan makes between ex phen [psyc?] and obj rel. i don't suppose you could help?

cheers

lem

Hmmm., I'm really only familiar with the bruce fink book, which alluds to object relations - but I'm not aware of any article specifically on Lacans account of it, perhaps you could just read up on object relations theory, if you're interested...

makaira
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Jul 27 2007 12:13
johno wrote:
lem wrote:
oh yeah - i could use some info/ref etc. on the link lacan makes between ex phen [psyc?] and obj rel. i don't suppose you could help?

cheers

lem

Hmmm., I'm really only familiar with the bruce fink book, which alluds to object relations - but I'm not aware of any article specifically on Lacans account of it, perhaps you could just read up on object relations theory, if you're interested...

Fink is in the mail, along with Looking Awry; should be interesting.

lem
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Jul 27 2007 12:32
johno wrote:
lem wrote:
oh yeah - i could use some info/ref etc. on the link lacan makes between ex phen [psyc?] and obj rel. i don't suppose you could help?

cheers

lem

Hmmm., I'm really only familiar with the bruce fink book, which alluds to object relations - but I'm not aware of any article specifically on Lacans account of it, perhaps you could just read up on object relations theory, if you're interested...

it's the lacan+phenomenology i'm intersted in specifically [for a masters; +interest too i think]. but thanks

cheers

lem

pingu
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Jan 6 2009 17:27

I have tried reading Lacan's Ecrits in English and it's like reading the incoherent ramblings of an insane cult leader! What I think Lacan was trying to do was rewrite Freud in structuralist terms and, by his own admission make Freud more difficult to understand. In this he certainly succeeded! In his characterisation of desire as lack I don't think he was saying much that was different from Freud and seems to be taking consumer capitalism for granted. Compare Lacan with Deleuze and Guattari.

Angelus Novus
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Jan 6 2009 21:54

Given the prominence of Lacan for a lot of feminist theorists, I would love to have a good, simple introduction to Lacan. I have that Zizek book "How to Read Lacan", but really all Zizek does is use Lacanian jargon to riff on pop culture artifacts, rather than really explaining the concepts in a systematic way.

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georgestapleton
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Jan 6 2009 23:31

Bruce Fink's A Clinical Introduction to Lacan is what you are looking for. Its one of these secrets, of the millions of intros to Lacan out there one is good: 'A Clinical Introduction to Lacan'

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Joseph Kay
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Jan 6 2009 23:41
pingu wrote:
In his characterisation of desire as lack I don't think he was saying much that was different from Freud and seems to be taking consumer capitalism for granted.

a lot of people say this, but i'm not convinced. i'm no lacan scholar, but it seems to me to have an element of truth - i mean i've fancied girls less when i found out they liked me, despite myself. this doesn't so much as apologise for consumer capitalism as explain its stability. i dunno, i've only anecdote to support my hunch but i think desire as lack does have some resonance.