Reading Seminar XX : Lacans major work on love, knowledge, and feminine sexuality

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Lacan, Jacques, Sexuality. Women -- psychology. Notes Includes bibliographical references and index. Three chapters translated from French. View online Borrow Buy Freely available Show 0 more links Set up My libraries How do I set up "My libraries"? Australian Catholic University Library. Open to the public ; Edith Cowan University Library. La Trobe University Library. Borchardt Library, Melbourne Bundoora Campus. May not be open to the public Held. Not for ILL. University of Queensland Library. Open to the public ; BF Dixson Library.

Account Options Connexion. Suzanne Barnard , Bruce Fink. This collection offers the first sustained, in-depth commentary on Seminar XX, Encore, considered the cornerstone of Lacan s work on the themes of sexual difference, knowledge, jouissance, and love. Yolton and John W.

Locke on the mind. Gregory Ed. Oxford; Oxford University Press. Christophersen, H. A bibliographical introduction to the study of John Locke. New York: B. Reprinted from Skrifter utg. Klasse, no. Oslo: I Kommisjon hos. Dybwad, 3. Note, e. Alexander in Gregory, p. Current constructive theories in psychology.

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Nature, , — Top of text Hall, R. Eighty years of Locke scholarship: A bibliographical guide. Edinburgh: Edinburgh Base of text University Press. Harrison, J. The Library of John Locke. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Mandelbaum, M. Philosophy, Science and Sense Perception. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press. Pears, D. Locke, John. Lamb Eds. Oxford: Blackwell, pp. Yolton, J. John Locke: A reference guide. Boston: G. The Psychopharmacologists. Anyone familiar with the history of psychiatry and the behavioral sciences is cognizant of the psychopharmacology revolution of the past forty years and the momentous impact of psychoactive drugs not only on clinical practice but also on the very identity and theoretical constructs of psychiatry.

This revolution began with the serendipitous discovery of the first antipyschotic drug, chlorpromazine, in the early s in Europe. In fact, the burgeoning psychopharmacology era marked the decline of psychoanalysis as a model for psychopathology and its treatment. The cascade of other antipsychotic drugs, as well as antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and anxiolytics that followed chlorpromazine over the past forty years, cumulatively ushered an inevitable paradigm shift to conceptualizing mental illnesses as a variety of neurochemical lesions that can be reversed or stabilized by different classes of neuropharmacological agents.

In many ways, the psychopharmacological discov- eries within psychiatry triggered the explosive neuroscience advances of the current genera- tion and was sustained by it as well. What is likely to strike many readers is the ferocity of personal views or the politics surrounding the process of generating new scientific knowledge. What may startle some readers is the possibility that the perception of clinical syndromes and diagnostic constructs can be significantly impacted by the marketing aspects of psychopharmaceuticals.

Some widely accepted contemporary notions of psychopathology and treatments may have been influenced by business strategies, not simply by empirical and objective laboratory investigation. Some stories are poignant, others pretentious, but all gripping for the psychiatrists who were trained during this era or who have used the dozens of phar- macological agents that are now discussed by their developers, the heroes of psychopharm- acology.

To the nonphysician readers, the tale of altering or modifying the highest functions of the human brain such as thoughts, feelings, and perceptions, can be equally fascinating as a triumph of science but not without some profound economic and sociopolitical conse- quences, intended or unintended. For example, it is not surprising that the powerful impact of psychotherapeutic drugs may have contributed to the growth of the antipsychiatry movement that condemned the very progress that legitimized psychiatry as a medical discipline and clinical neuroscience.

Few of the interviewers addressed this issue in light of the failure of science, even good science, to provide full answers to the complex human dimensions of mental illness. In summary, this book, unstructured as it is, fills a gap in the history of psychiatry and specifically psychopharmacology. It is a story of unraveling the neurochemical mysteries of mental illness as collectively told by twenty-three men and two women. The reader is left to sift through the facts and perceptions and is likely to be impressed, educated, and, yes, even disillusioned.

David Healy comments: I am grateful to Henry A.


Nasrallah for his sympathetic reading of this volume. Oral history has many pitfalls, some of which he notes. In recent years, a number of autobiographical accounts of their careers have begun to appear from some of the most eminent neuroscientists and clinicians from the period. For political and social reasons, such accounts usually necessarily leave out the con- flicts and acrimony that go with historical developments.

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  • The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book XX, Encore: On Feminine Sexuality, the…?
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There are, therefore, accounts from scientists working within the phar- maceutical industry set beside the accounts from clinicians and basic scientists and very often the same event can be seen from these different perspectives. A second volume of twenty- five interviews has now been published, which covers the same ground as the interviews in this volume [Healy, ].

There is also an external control, which is the bias of the inter- viewer. This can be seen in all its ramifications in a recently published history of the anti- depressants Healy, Working with people who made history, but who are still alive and can contest our accounts, can make more explicit the process by which historians make history. This is a challenge that should not be shirked.

The Antidepressant Era. The Psychopharmacologists Vol. London: Hodder. It is an extraordinary poetic, phenomenological exploration of the madness in Greek tragedy. Padel makes some forays beyond the classical Greek period for briefer looks at representations of madness in later periods of Western civilization.

She asserts that Greek images and concepts of madness have powerfully shaped and informed all subsequent West- ern representations. Paradoxically, changes that have taken place especially in the nineteenth century in views of the person and of the mind make it extremely difficult for us now fully to recognize, let alone characterize, the authentic classical Greek representations.

The explication of the specific vocabulary of madness occupies Part I but extends throughout the book. Further, Padel takes us through the major characteristics of mad characters as they appear in tragedy and the major explanations given for their madness. She observes that, with a few notable exceptions the recurrent madness of Io, or Orestes , madness is portrayed as acute, time-limited, disastrous, initiated primarily by divine agency, and capricious. The mad- ness is short-lived, though the antecedent buildup and especially the consequences are far more lasting.

Repeatedly, the author brings us back to detailed, unprejudiced examination of the texts, and she urges, coaxes, persuades, and occasionally scolds us into looking closely at what the Greeks thought and how they expressed those thoughts. There is a generally useful combative tone to the book — the author both makes her own points and refutes opposing, or irrelevant, viewpoints that have gained any currency.

On the whole, accurate in these battles, offensive and defensive, she takes on classicists, historians of ideas, poets, Shakespearean critics, and psychoanalysts. Because this reviewer wears several of those hats professional psychoanalyst and am- ateur classical scholar , it is fitting to address a particular issue to which Padel does not do full justice to our understanding of Greek tragedy. The problem is: how do these Greek dramas, written in a very particular time and context, have such a widespread, trans-historical appeal? She would argue that we are responding in part by misunderstanding, that we are not responding to the culturally specific meanings of the images that the tragedians may have reflexly invoked and evoked.

How does an audience of a hundred American eighteen-year-olds come into a university auditorium, chewing their gum, wearing their walkman-radio-tape-decks, some even descending to front rows on roller-skates, to watch a marionette performance of Antig- one, and become transfixed, transformed, awestruck, and unified in a stunned emotional si- lence? No one field or profession has a corner on answering that question, including psychoanalysts. Surely, that is a complicated and important enough topic to warrant trying out various assumptions about what is and is not universal in human nature, or human culture; assumptions about what allows us to understand and what hinders us from understanding another human being or another culture.

Queer Science. The Use and Abuse of Research into Homosexuality. Simon LeVay, a neurobiologist whose research has posited a distinct structural difference in the hypothalamus of gay and straight male brains, has written a survey of scientific research on homosexuality. In Queer Science, LeVay describes various psychological and biological theories of the etiology of homosexuality that have come and gone during the past half century. While the book is written clearly and is very accessible to the lay reader, the reviews of the various approaches to the study of homosexuality are uneven.

While LeVay includes discussions of research on lesbians when relevant or available, class and race figure negligibly in his discussion. His general outlook is that of an educated white gay male scientist. As a scientist, he judges historical science according to contemporary methodological standards; as a white gay male, he judges researchers as right or wrong, dangerous or heroic, depending on his own political position.

He does not seem to notice that short his own assumptions about what constitutes homosexuality are themselves historically con- standard tingent. Despite his occasional disclaimer that there are no necessary con- nections between beliefs about the causes of homosexuality and its acceptance by society at large, LeVay seems to believe that homophobes everywhere would lay down their hatred if only they would accept that homosexuality is biologically based. The result of his endeavor, however, contributes little to the pressing theoretical, historical, and social debates that necessarily inform scientific research on human sexual behavior.

It can be construed as a passive process of reception and transduction of information about the external world; or as an active, constructive process of discovery and revelation; or as a means of political, ethical, or religious guidance. The essays in Sites of Vision address the last two of these meanings by examining their historical sources in philosophy, ancient to current: considered, in order, are Aristotle, Malebranche, Berkeley, Vico, Hegel, Husserl, Wittgenstein, Dewey, Benjamin, Adorno, Arendt, Foucault, Derrida, and Deleuze.

As an entity, the book can be viewed as a prospectus for an alternative history of vision, countering the history of vision as a biological or mechanistic process. The combination of philosophers selected for inclusion is novel and refreshing, and there is enough subtext in each chapter to allow the reader to connect ideas creatively. The effectiveness of the book as a comprehensive history is undercut by stylistic differ- short ences between the chapters and occasional outbreaks of presentism.

The editor, David Michael Levin, author or editor of other recent volumes on the history and philosophy of vision The Opening of Vision: Nihilism and the Postmodern Situation; Modernity and the Hegemony of Vision , has provided a lengthy introduction 63 pages in which he adumbrates several of the motifs that are woven into the individual chapters and summarizes each chapter in turn.

This collection will profit a variety of readers. Those who are interested in the devel- opment of postmodernist philosophies will gain insight into their history. The book will provide much stimulation and pleasure for those fascinated by vision. Finally, for those psy- chologists and other social scientists frustrated by aridity and lack of vision in current theory and practice in their fields, Sites of Vision will suggest means for relief. Such readers, however, must bring their own ideas with them, ready to connect to the ideas presented in this text: with the exception of John Dewey, the subject of one chapter, there are very few psychologists or social scientists mentioned or cited.

Rebel With a Cause. New Brunswick NJ: Transaction, Revised and Expanded Edition. The title of his autobi- ography reflected his lifetime goal to make 20th century human psychology a true science.

Jacques Lacan and the Imaginary-Symbolic-Real

When Eysenck died, at age 81, from brain cancer in September , his 60 books and 1, articles had made him the most cited living person in the Social Sciences Citation Index. Eysenck lived long enough to see the demise of many of his foes. His view that much psychotherapy did not work, once a serious scandal, is now widely accepted. Today consensus exists for his position that personality can be explained in terms of a small number of di- mensions e.

His data showing that Fascists and Communists have similar personality structures and that social attitudes are partly heri- table are also now widely accepted with specific genes waiting in the test tube to be decoded. He succeeded at school and in sports but claims that he lacked sufficient combativeness truly to excel. Deciding he wanted no part of the Third Reich, he arrived in England at age 18, where he enrolled in psychology at the University of London — a strange prelude to later false accusations of fascism.

Eysenck describes five principles of that school. The first of these was that human beings were biosocial organisms, whose conduct was determined by both genetic and by social factors. The four others — including a mind-body continuum, reconciling correlational and experimental methods, abandoning dis- tinctions between pure and applied psychology, and requiring proof for all assertions — can likewise be seen as part of a program for making psychology into a science and unifying, rather than compartmentalizing, knowledge.

Eysenck describes a mainly happy life. He was married twice the second time to Sybil for 40 years and had five children and several grandchildren. During World War II, he worked as an air-raid warden and later as a clinical psychologist. He also writes of his many intellectual friends and enemies, alliances and quarrels. Other Eysenckian controversies include cognitive behavior modification a therapy he helped pioneer , personality and crime, smoking and cancer, and ESP and astrology. The most contentious, however, was the issue of race differences in IQ.

Simply considering the basis to race differences in IQ as an open question was enough to make Eysenck a political pariah. He was physically attacked at the London School of Economics, an attack this reviewer witnessed as a then graduate student at the L. Rebel With a Cause is a first hand account of the human nature wars of the 20th century, central to an understanding of social science history. Reviewed by J. The Seminar. Fink, New York: W. This has nothing to do with the fact that the Anglo-American Lacanians have already scrutinized the original — indeed, most of my Lacanian bedfellows read Lacan only in English — but it is partly related to the lack of French enthusiasm for the publication some herd-animals require a sign from the group leader to start moving , and partly owing to a certain intellectual inertia, which makes it difficult to assimilate new brainfood if one is still saturated by the old portions.

Nonetheless, I believe that the seminars of Lacan in English, and especially the volumes which have appeared since , deserve more attention than they have hitherto received, even by those francophone readers who think they have already absorbed them so thoroughly that an English translation cannot possibly add anything to their knowledge. The most important reason why a Lacan seminar in English ought to be cherished by devoted Lacanians and interested scholars alike is that it differs significantly from the French original as to its general conception and execution. Unlike the French seminars, all of the post English versions have hitherto contained a comprehensive bibliography, a detailed name and subject index, and most importantly invaluable explanatory notes.

Alan Sheridan Harmondsworth: Penguin, , xliii. New York, NY: W. As a result, Lacan becomes less idiosyncratic, more human, less of a demiurge, and more of a creative artist. For some reason, the publishers have opted to relegate the original title of the seminar, Encore, to the background and to publish the book with an alternative heading, On Feminine Sexuality, the Limits of Love and Knowl- edge. This is indeed what Lacan talks about in some of the sessions, but I nevertheless wish to warn potential readers that the seminar is not primarily about feminine sexuality.

Despite these strengths and perhaps inevitably , the translation does include a number of errors and also poses some difficulties in crucial places, of which I will give five examples related to the first session On jouissance. Yet there is no typographical error at all; it is the body and not the Other that symbolizes the Other, which is moreover attested to by what Lacan says on the following page of the text.

Fourthly, in the paragraphs in which Lacan talks about the One, he differentiates al- though often surreptitiously between the philosophical One of harmony, unity, and oneness, and the mathematical One of numbers and arithmetic. This could have been easily avoided, although I expect that it will pass unnoticed if the reader does not have a classical background or training. I am fully aware that some of these points may be perceived as academic nitpicking, but the higher the standards according to which a text has been established, the higher the demands one is allowed to set.

I am also aware that it is impossible to produce a perfect translation, and that this kind of enterprise can only be a work in progress, as Fink himself acknowledges in his preface viii. David Moss, of Harvard Business School, examines an important aspect of the struggles for social insurance and assistance in the United States in the three decades leading to the passage of the Social Security Act, an aspect that has figured peripherally in more general studies, such as Theda Skocpol, Protecting Soldiers and Mothers and Linda Gordon, Pitied But Not Entitled : the role of a group of reform-minded economists in the American Association for Labor Legislation AALL.

Making good use of microfilm editions of the AALL, Commons and Ely papers, Moss explores the conflict over gender-neutral policies versus protective legislation for women chapter 6 , and the conflict of the AALL with labor leaders such as Samuel Gompers, who defended health and unemployment insurance as part of voluntary collective bargaining against the alternative of government-administered compulsory social insurance.

Bruce Fink | Lacanian Psychoanalyst | Author | Private Practice Pittsburgh France -

Moss also explores why, in contrast to the gradual introduction of occupational safety laws, minimum wages, unemployment insurance, and Social Security for old age and disability, the AALL campaign for compulsory health insurance failed, opposed by insurance companies and Christian Scientists. He has an interesting story and tells it well. Fisher appears, unindexed, as a recipient of letters pp. Fisher also stressed the case for compulsory health insurance in his American Economic Association presidential address in and in many articles.

I would also have liked more about two Wellesley economists, the future Nobel Peace laureate Emily Balch see Skocpol , p. But overall, Moss has provided a valuable, insightful, and readable study of the role of Progressive Wisconsin institutionalists in the social insurance movement. New York: Free Press. Skocpol, T. Cambridge, MA: Belknap.

Spiritualism in Antebellum America. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, No scholar, I believe, enjoys having to write a negatively critical book review. The fact of a book having made it to the light of day is a cause for congratulation in and of itself. When the book is, overall, of significant worth and value, it seems almost an obligation to ignore the weaknesses that might also have appeared. At the level of information provided about the spiritu- alist movement in the nineteenth century, the book is splendid indeed.

The author argues convincingly at the level of thesis, demonstrating very well the development within the spir- itualist movement of what Carroll calls a kind of ecclesiastical republicanism. The author brings together a wealth of primary data and secondary scholarly observations into one volume, and does so in a way that will be of help both to scholars and students of American religious thought.

Stated somewhat differently, Carroll demonstrates the ability of spiritualism to hold in balance the American religious need for individualism in belief and practice with the need for order, stability, and not a little conventionality. As with so much of mid-nineteenth century Amer- Base of text ican religious movement, spiritualism was able to provide a communal and ordered religious way, but at the cost of a national religious formation. Put very simply, Carroll assumes a narrative of mid-nineteenth century Amer- ican spiritual malaise: that American culture was suffering from a dearth of spiritual fulfill- ment; and that spiritualism appeared as an antidote to that malaise.

The difficulty with this narrative beside the fact that it is fairly worn out is twofold.

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First, it gets us no further than the account of the spiritual movement offered by those involved in the movement. While this may not be problematic, it also might be. The story of malaise and cure is but a thinly veiled version of the Christian story of sin and salvation, of the Augustinian restless heart, searching for true haven in a heartless world. It is time to move on beyond the Christian story in the discipline of religious studies.

There is, interestingly, a different story noted by Carroll in his book, although it is left at the level of aside and not carried out. This reader, at least, wishes that Carroll had taken up the track of this story in his book and had followed it out rather than merely mentioning its possibility. Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex.

This is a postmodernist deconstructionist work. The author starts in the middle of the nineteenth century, ignoring any medical writing about hermaphroditism before, emphasizes that physicians were gatekeepers and definers who ignored the patients, and concludes with a plea for physicians to listen to their patients.

The book is based primarily on English and French writings about hermaphrodites and ignores, except for an occasional reference, the massive amount of German literature on all kinds of sexual topics, including hermaphroditism. The author also makes the proper bows to Foucault. Her plea, at the end, is for physicians to listen more to their patients and to the recommendations of the Intersex Society of America and not to resort to drastic interventions until the patient decides. But what she forgets is that the Intersex Society which I support , is but one voice, a cautionary and necessary one, and that voice is not the only voice of intersexed individuals and not much help when the physicians is confronted with a parent of an intersexed child demanding that he or she do something.

There is an excellent bibliography and, whether or not one agrees with Dreger, as I do for the most part, she has compiled a massive amount of well-documented data about hermaphroditism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The book should help stimulate further discussion on how society is to deal with intersex people. O Homem e a serpente: outras historias para a loucura e a psiquiatria. Rio de Janeiro: Editora Fiocruz, The author successfully expresses the modern crisis in institutions and ideologies and transmits the need to struggle constantly for a psy- chiatry that is free from social control.

These are the most successful aspects of the book. It does also have several weaknesses, however, the most salient of which are as follows: 1. The historical discussion is controversial; the author depends heavily on secondary sources and draws entirely upon a restricted group of cited authors. The author relies heavily upon Michel Foucault, despite the fact that many of his interpretations are considered debatable today; rather than being a sign of exclusion, the invention of the asylum was a reflection of an intellectual and democratic revo- lution that altered our relations with madness and madmen.

The important contribution made by French institutional psychotherapy and com- munity treatment is dealt with in a summary and simplistic way. The argument is highly ideological. Although the author is against the abandonment of patients, and insists that the existence of alternatives is absolutely necessary, he asserts continually that deinstitutionalization is a moral imperative. The author considers only the sociological and institutional version of alienation, and does not question mental disorder from the perspective of the psychological and biological sciences.

There is no reference to neurobiology or psychopharmacology, nor even to psychotherapy, as if mental illness were not intimately related to the private, subjective world of the individual. The com- plexity raised by psychiatry, and which the author accepts, is then impoverished by simplification. This is exactly what should be avoided in both the study of historical development and in dealings with psychological suffering. But in cases of serious psychiatric illness, the ability to be free may be suppressed. Consequently, the release of such patients without suitable support systems may mean abandoning them to loneliness, illness, and misery.

It is not enough to say that dein- stitutionalization is a moral imperative. This would serve as counterpoint to the rhetoric of ideology. Niilo Kauppi has set himself the task of explaining how cultural authority passed from Sartre to this new generation of intellectuals. The time is the late s and early s, the setting Paris. The local intellectual scene, Kauppi argues, was transformed in these years by a knot of related factors.

Reading Seminar XX: Lacan's Major Work on Love, Knowledge, and Feminine Sexuality

The Paris student population had begun to increase rapidly, and the university system grew to keep pace, creating new posts and sanctioning the creation of new disciplines, in the social sciences above all. An eager and youthful audience craved enlightenment, and the media reorganized to target the waiting market.

Paperback publishing flourished. Risk- taking houses like the avant-garde Editions de Minuit and middle-sized Le Seuil cast about for coming authors who could write in an idiom appealing to an idea-hungry youth. Cultural journals, like Le Nouvel Observateur, sprang up to broker between writers and readers, un- dertaking to explain to the young the complexities of a changing intellectual scene. They were an interesting crew, Base of text not all of them cut from the standard cloth of Parisian intellectual life.

Certain of the newcomers had gone the same route, Foucault for example, but not Barthes too frail of health to pursue an ENS degree or the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, who had gotten his training in medicine. A number were transplanted foreigners, like the literary theorists Julia Kristeva and Tzvetan Todorov, both of East European background. What such would-be intellectuals had going for them, Kauppi claims, was not pedigree but a remarkable institutional and media savvy. They launched reviews and prizes to trumpet their views and consecrate their achievements.

But it was the peculiar, hybrid idiom in which such intellectuals wrote that in the end guaranteed their success. They had the right philosophical turn of mind to pass muster by accepted standards of intellectual quality but just enough newness to lay claim to the status of radical iconoclasts. But critical differences there were in other respects. The new generation had their novelistic wing, but the literature they embraced, the so-called Nouveau Roman pioneered by Alain Robbe-Grillet and built upon by younger experimentalists such as Philippe Sollers of the Tel Quel group, was celebrated less for existential yearnings than for technical innovations and objectivity of tone.

Yet, it was in the realm of the human and social sciences that the new school made the greatest impact, in Lacanian psychoanalysis, Bourdieusian sociology, Barthian semiology, Foucaultian history. These various systems, Kauppi points out, picked apart Sartrian subjec- tivity in the name of constraining structures, whether linguistic, discursive, or epistemic in nature. They came accompanied by claims to scientific legitimacy, a claim that Kauppi deems plausible in certain instances that of Bourdieu, for example but which in most he is inclined to dismiss as mere pretense.

Institutions, cul- tural markets, and inherited expectations about how intellectuals are supposed to act and think, all contributed to the creative explosion of the post-Sartrian era. As Kauppi tells it, this is a very French tale. But there is reason to wonder whether it is so French as all that. The expansion of the social sciences in the s and s was not unique to France. That expansion played itself out in France, but elsewhere too, against a backdrop of cultural re- newal affecting related disciplines such as history as well as various domains of creative activity from cinema to music.

It may be pushing the point, but there was also a political Base of text dimension to all this.


The Cold War, which framed Sartrian thinking in the early fifties, had begun to recede. Intellectual politics too had begun to take a new course, heading away from the Cold War obsessions of old toward different horizons — Maoism, feminism, a whole complex of positions that might be summed up under the rubric of New Left.

Kauppi has brought into clear focus a major transformation in the constitution of French intellectual life. The Mastery of Submission: Inventions of Masochism. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, Noyes has written an erudite, thoughtful book on masochism. He offers the thought- provoking observation that people who discussed flogging and other masochistic practices in the early modern period i.