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Lacanian Psychoanalysis: Theory and Practice


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 7
  • Convenor: to be confirmed
  • Assessment: a 4000-word essay (100%)

Module description

This option introduces and explores Lacanian psychoanalysis by focusing on a series of distinct topic areas in Lacan’s work, all of which are related to major publications within Lacan’s overarching objective of ‘a return to Freud’. The first of these concerns the topic of the imaginary, which includes an understanding of the mirror-stage and ego identifications. The second centres on Lacan’s understanding - influenced by Structuralism and linguistics - of the symbolic, which in turn involves reflection on the well-known credo that ‘the unconscious is structured like a language’. Also crucial here is Lacan’s engagement with the topic of time and interruption, that is, a distinctively psychoanalytic theorisation of logical time. A further fundamental topic is that of desire, and the subject’s relation to the various vicissitudes of desire - the desire of the Other, fantasy, alienation and so on - all of which can be illustrated with reference to Lacan’s ‘graph of desire’. Two further areas of focus include the Lacanian notion of psychosis, and the issue of how one might psychoanalytically approach the issue of ‘sexuation’ (gender identity). The course closes with a discussion of Lacan’s thoughts on ‘direction of treatment’, that is, with a sense of how Lacan’s theoretical axioms may be linked to practice, and how they inform critical and social forms of analysis.