Lacan and the Political

Lacan and the Political

Lacan and the Political

Lacan and the Political

Synopsis

The work of Jacques Lacan is second only to Freud in its impact on psychoanalysis. Yannis Stavrakakis clearly examines Lacan's challenging views on time, history, language, alterity, desire and sexuality from a political standpoint. It is the first book to provide an overview of the social and political implications of Lacan's work as a whole for students coming to Lacan for the first time.The first part of Lacan and the Political offers a straightforward and systematic assessment of the importance of Lacan's categories and theoretical constructions for concrete political analysis. The second half of the book applies Lacanian theory to specific examples of widely discussed political issues, such as Green ideology, the question of democracy and the hegemony of advertising in contemporary culture.

Excerpt

The ambiguities of modern democracy: beyond the politics of harmony

My aim in this chapter will be to forge a perspective on the radicalisation and institutionalisation of democracy as one possible way of conceiving what it might mean to enable the crossing of fantasy and thus the avoidance of extreme utopianism with all its catastrophic consequences, discussed and exposed in the previous chapter. Such a perspective can only be an ethico-political one. the ethical dimension is crucial here; this is what our current experience shows. It is certainly one of the dimensions through which aporia surfaces within our current political and theoretical setting. Consider, for example, the contemporary crisis of democracy: the increasing hegemony of the dominant democratic model—both in theory and in practice—instead of generating optimism has reinforced the disappointment produced by the experience of democracy. in fact, it is one of the paradoxes of our age that the ‘success’ of democracy in Eastern Europe and South Africa is coupled by grave disappointment in Western Europe, the ‘birthplace’ of modern democracies. It is true, of course, that modern democracy is based on a constitutive tension, it has an ambiguous character. For example, as William Connolly has pointed out, both individualists and communalists are disappointed because democratic theory and practice entails the ambiguity of simultaneously differentiating and ‘harmonising’ individuality and commonality. This disappointment, however, stems from the belief of both sides that ‘this is an ambiguity to be resolved rather than acknowledged and expressed in the institutional life’ (Connolly, 1987:5-6). John Dunn has also pointed out the intersection of ‘two incompatible rationalities’ that reveal another facet of the ambiguity of democracy: the need for a least badly controlled mode of government and the principle of human fulfilment and liberty (Dunn, 1979). It seems that democracy entails, of necessity, the attempt to combine apparently contradictory demands: the rule of law with the representation of particular interests—ensuring respect

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.