The Voice of the Other: Language as Illusion in the Formation of the Self

The Voice of the Other: Language as Illusion in the Formation of the Self

The Voice of the Other: Language as Illusion in the Formation of the Self

The Voice of the Other: Language as Illusion in the Formation of the Self

Synopsis

This is a study of language and the way that it affects our thoughts and perceptions. The author introduces the concept of the Voice of the Other and the intersubjective world it creates for humans. In the movement from nature to civilization, the newborn is mastered by language and becomes part of the parent's social world. The child's thought is now structured by parental language and speech and memories stored in the unconscious. What is real for the individual are only the images and words that define them. Rothstein uses the works of Freud, Lacan, and Marx to situate schooling in capitalist society. He employs psychoanalytic, linguistic, and anthropological perspectives in an attempt to discover how we think and communicate with one another using unconscious processes.

Excerpt

This is an exploratory study seeking to present complex arguments to a wider audience. Our understanding of speech, language, and consciousness is still evolving and needs further elaboration. Readers may find themselves dissatisfied with the linkage of the psychoanalytic concept of Otherness and Marxian class consciousness. They may wonder how the symbolic and imaginary functions of Lacanian psychoanalysis translate into the ideological thought and culture of capitalist systems. Some may insist that these are merely tangential elements of widely disparate systems. Nevertheless, such concepts as the voice of the Other and Otherness provide a link unifying the subjective theories of psychoanalysis with the objective ones of Marxism. By connecting thought, kinship structures, and ideological state apparatuses to speech and language, structural Marxists have bridged these discrete disciplines and given us new insight into ourselves and the intersubjective world we live in. Psychoanalysis, the talking cure, has become, first and foremost, a theory of communication and language. the concept of the Other has forced scholars to ponder more deeply the functions of speech and language in the development of human identity.

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