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Felix Hoenikker

Lacan Explanation

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which alternative do you use? i have seen about ten or so. i personally like the identifying with the subject "We are all Jews" concept.

 

for the link debate on this years topic, should you spend time in the 1nc reading cards that say that the aff is identifying the lack in Africa or just explain it?

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some debaters this year in highschool are using lacan (or at least claiming that) as this like weird right to the other type arguement i'd like to know what lacan actually says about the "other" and our purposes with dealing with the other

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which alternative do you use? i have seen about ten or so. i personally like the identifying with the subject "We are all Jews" concept.

 

for the link debate on this years topic, should you spend time in the 1nc reading cards that say that the aff is identifying the lack in Africa or just explain it?

I am sure this has been stated on this site, but the 2006 Zizek book better explains the 2004 card (Do Nothing/Leap of Faith/Fuck Trancedental powers) better. It even gives some warrant as to why we shouldn't do anything related to African problems. I personally like using this card.

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I am sure this has been stated on this site, but the 2006 Zizek book better explains the 2004 card (Do Nothing/Leap of Faith/Fuck Trancedental powers) better. It even gives some warrant as to why we shouldn't do anything related to African problems. I personally like using this card.

 

The alt. card that he is referring to isn't written my zizek. It is written by Stauv, and it isn't a do nothing card it says you have to recognize the universality of the lack and abandon geopolitical ego formation.

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The alt. card that he is referring to isn't written my zizek. It is written by Stauv, and it isn't a do nothing card it says you have to recognize the universality of the lack and abandon geopolitical ego formation.

I am aware of that, i was just stating what my favorite Lacan Alternative is.

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do you mind sending the cite for the Stauv card?

Yannis Stavrakakis, Fellow, University of Essex, LACAN AND THE POLITICAL: THINKING THE POLITICS, 1999, 133

 

question for alex: should i read lacan's ecrits or is it a waste of time?

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I know this is kind of old and I haven't read all the replies so maybe this has already been discussed, but your definitions of terms seem more Freudian than Lacanian. For example, in Lacan, the superego is _not_ a moral agent; it bombards us with obscene demands and then laughs at us when we inevitably fail to meet them, to paraphrase Zizek. Morality is a symptom of the ego. Saying the id simply follows the pleasure principle is not exactly right, either (again, the ego follows the pleasure principle; the id simply lays the groundwork for this to be possible), but close enough.

 

Your description of the Real would do well to note its strange duality: the Real represents both the excess, that which cannot be articulated within the symbolic, and the lack, the very fact that the symbolic is never complete. I like that you didn't go with the easy to understand but also entirely erroneous explanation that the Real is just 'objective reality,' though.

 

Your description of lack is problematic to me on two levels. First, it is most certainly NOT disappointment at the lack of some previously desired object. Lack is what creates the coordinates for our desire in the first place; it is, in a sense, the cause of desire, the space that desire is meant to fill. The second reason is related; you don't seem to, for the lack (no pun intended) of a better word, give the lack 'credit' for its importance in Lacanian theory. Lack is the fundamental ontology of Lacan; the Thing lacks, the subject lacks, the fantasy lacks. Lack itself is where the very notions of subjectivity and desire emerge. Your description in the brief intro paragraph makes lack sound like the mere result of the limits of language; lack comes well before this. The inability of the symbolic to express the fullness of the Real is an effect of the lack, not its cause.

 

I have a lot to say about death drive and jouissance, but I've gone on long enough. The point is, Lacan is devilishly complicated, and it's very hard to do him justice with a glossary-type approach. All things considered, though, you did an excellent job imparting some of the basics of Lacan.

 

Edit: Stavrakakis is a tool who is either really bad at articulating his views, really ignorant of Lacan or both. Encircling the Real is the most meaningless attempt at a Lacanian turn of phrase I can think of. I think Thomassen writes some sweet answers to Stavra (I know he answers Robinson).

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I have been contemplating lacan for a while and i just can't seem to articulate an alternative (for mirror stage sort of arguments) that makes sense as anything other than a very reactionary postition to the aff. It would seem that an alternative presented as anything other than rejection would be extremely susceptible to link turns and counter k's form the same body of literature. For instance, I know Zizek finds politically implementable autonomous lacanian alternaitves problematic in so much as they aren't willing to step out of the realm of politics, refuse to propose 'solutions,' and contemplate the reasons why we are presently unable to formulate an 'authentic utopina movement.'

If this is the case, is it really worth it to argue the kritik as anything other than a case turn?

If not, what exactly is the most coherent framework to employ? (It would seem that the usual reasons why ontolgy is key to X, Y, and Z might risk unwanted tension, if not a double-turn)

(feel free to PM)

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I'm not sure what you mean by mirror stage type of arguments; in my experience, it's more productive to focus on 'higher level' Lacanian concepts (Zizek's writings on ideology, for example), and use the more nuanced Lacanian notions like mirror stage or drives and desires as answers to particular arguments (usually counter-Ks). So your 1NC shell will basically say the aff operates within the sphere of capitalist ideology, this is bad for all the normal cap bad reasons, the alternative is to withdraw from capitalist ideology. Withdrawal is a better way of framing the alt than simply reject or do nothing. It's not just that you choose not to do the plan; it's an active negation of the ideological starting point of the plan.

 

Framework isn't really necessary unless the aff brings it up. You can make the sequencing arguments in your 1NC shell. I recommend looking up the Adrian Johnston 2004 cards; I don't have an exact cite handy, but Johnston writes a ton of great stuff about Zizek's ontology. Whether you build it into the K or have an explicit framework, the argument is essentially that, because ideology creates our subject-positions and our very sense of what is meaningful, discussions of ideology must come first. It's essentially an ontology comes first argument (Lacanian ontology of the subject and the Real undercuts arguments about rationality, etc.), but you can avoid making the explicit ontology framework arguments by tagging your Lacanian authors appropriately and directing the debate with line-by-line answers. For example, when they say util good, don't just say "this doesn't operate within our framework, ontology comes first;" instead, say, "Our Zizek/Daly/Johnston/Whoever card about the subject functions as an internal link turn, in order to calculate utilitarian costs properly we must first lift the prohibition on thinking created by capitalist ideology, etc. etc., this is a sequencing question." Lacanian theory is wonderful for debate in that it is responsive on a fundamental level to pretty much every other argument out there. Think of things this way: in order to get to the claims they are making, there is a whole set of underlying assumptions about subjectivity and our place in the world, and Lacanian theory probably critiques at least one of those assumptions.

 

It's really hard to run Lacan as a case turn because, unlike other Ks, you're not really making the "squo is bad, they make it a little worse" argument; what you really want to be saying is that people in the squo do this thing that is bad (participate in capitalist ideology), the aff also does this thing, we should not do it. It's very difficult to make this nuanced analysis absent an alternative; the only reason the Zizek K isn't a link of omission is because everything that does not explicitly reject the dominant ideology operates within it. If you don't do anything to distance yourself from ideology via an alt, there's probably only a risk that the plan is good in the short term. When you need to kick the alt and run the K as a case turn, it becomes a lot more about capitalism and a lot less about Lacan.

 

Of course, if you want to run "pure" Lacan without the Marxist spin, a lot of this doesn't apply. You're on your own there; personally, I'm not sure why anyone would want to when so much of the current Lacanian literature is by or about Zizek.

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Edit: Stavrakakis is a tool who is either really bad at articulating his views, really ignorant of Lacan or both. Encircling the Real is the most meaningless attempt at a Lacanian turn of phrase I can think of. I think Thomassen writes some sweet answers to Stavra (I know he answers Robinson).

 

To my knowledge stauv. is of the female species....

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I am wondering why you think Yannis Stavrakakis is a tool. I must admit that I have not read much if any of Lacan's primary work but find Stavrakakis' work (and interpretation) rather helpful and at just times down right provocative. Just curious...

 

Thank you

 

Paul

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I'm no expert on Stavrakakis; my main exposure to him has been the common Zizek indict cards people read constantly in college rounds. There are a few cards with arguments about how Lacanian theory can't be applied to politics, Zizek has no alternative, etc. Then there's also the really bizarre notion of 'encircling the Real.' Unless those cards are just cut _terribly_ and he redefines his terms at some point in discussing this concept, it is absolute gibberish. The Real is, by definition, that which lies outside of whatever you try to encircle. Encircling the Real is precisely what ideology attempts to do.

 

I'm sure Stavrakakis makes some decent arguments and/or interprets some parts of Lacan well, but I haven't been exposed to that part of his work. The Stavrakakis cards people read in debates are asinine.

 

I don't recommend Lacan's primary work. It's not very approachable; Lacan was a brilliant theorist but a pretty bad writer. Zizek is my author of choice, but Miller is quite good, too.

 

I am wondering why you think Yannis Stavrakakis is a tool. I must admit that I have not read much if any of Lacan's primary work but find Stavrakakis' work (and interpretation) rather helpful and at just times down right provocative. Just curious...

 

Thank you

 

Paul

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Thanks Solistus.

I would like to clarify however that when i refer to my lacan kritik as a "case turn," I am still assuming the existence of a framework/"sequencing" debate. Similar to the way people make "serial policy failure" arguments as "case turns" that operate from some different "level" of dicussion, I make the argument that the aff paradigm projects violence upon the subject at a representational level that makes us assume a new relationship to being, a relationship which locks us into a social network of causality, where the subject can never "choose" rather they are " influenced," which makes every instance of violence the affirmative attemtps to avoid innevitable and causes a rupture within the eternal "power of the centre." (Zizek, the indivisible remainder,the passage starts on page 18)

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In conjunction with Solistus, I just felt there were a few areas where additional explanation was needed.

 

Definitions of common Lacanian terminology:

 

Ego – the conscious, rational part of the subject. The executive of the subject its job is to regulate and mediate the demands made on it by the superego and id.

 

The important of the Ego for Lacan goes much farther beyond the simple question of conscious versus unconscious.

For example, its important to note that the Ego corresponds heavily with the mirror stage, and is constituted by this alienating identification, premised on an initial lack of completeness in the body (lack of motor skills, speech, and so forth). In response to this lack, the ego appears whole and complete to the subject - forcing it to be an inauthentic agency functioning only to conceal this disturbing lack. (For further clarification of this you can see Freud's work on Negative Hallucination, which he akins to the falsifying character of the ego).

 

Lacan's work on the difference between ideal-ego (assoc. with the imaginary order) and ego-ideal (assoc. with the symbolic order) would also be of relevance here. The ideal-ego is the ideal of perfection which the ego is attempting to emulate, the wholeness it portrays. Again, this is related to the mirror stage as the child see's his own image as idealized, bounded in the mirror in contradiction to the incompleteness his body experiences at age 6-18 months. This Lacan holds responsible for the entire fantasy construction of reality that plagues individuals ever-after - they are always destined to perceive a fundamental fullness or potential for fullness which is illusory. Conversely, the ego-ideal is one looks at oneself from this point of perfection and to see one's own life as vain and useless.

 

Symbolic – one of the realms of reality (dis)orientation. The symbolic is the order of symbols, words, and signs. The symbolic is the last to form in psychic development but is unable to capture everything about the reality it attempts to articulate.

 

I think this is a bit of an oversimplification in terms of what the Symbolic contains. Ultimately, Lacan understands it as the networks, social, cultural, and linguistic into which a child is born, which precede the birth of the subject (as Lacan puts it, "language is there from before the actual moment of birth"). The relevance of the Symbolic for the individual is that it represents a fundamental pre-mapping of the child's existence long before it can comprehended by the child (before a child is even born the parents have talked about him or her, chosen a name, mapped out theire ideal of his future, and so on).

 

This symbolic universe leads to what Lacan calls "identification with the Ideal" - not ideal in the utopian sense, nor is it conscious, but the Ideal of the parents pre-figurations for the child. The speech he or she hears as a child is incorporated in to the unconscious - which is precisely why Lacan says the unconscious is structured as language.

 

The Real – the traumatic excess created by the symbolic. In the process of linguistic articulation something is always left out of the subject or object that is articulated by the symbolic. This traumatic element is something the subject attempts to eliminate, cover up, or displace.

The Real isn't simply that which isn't symbolized, but as Lacan says the Real is "that which resists symbolization absolutely".

Additionally, it is not that the subject actively attempts to eliminate or cover up the Real, because the Real is precisely what is excludes from his reality, it is the margin of what is without meaning and the subject fails to explore.

 

Jouissance - a French term which translated means "enjoyment" and contrasted with plaisir. In every sense of the word it is whatever "gets you off". Something that gives the subject a way out of its normative subjectivity through transcendent bliss whether that bliss or orgasmic rapture be found in texts, films, works of art or sexual spheres; excess as opposed to utility.

Yes, Jouissance is technically translated as “enjoyment”, but the meaning for Lacan is that it is ‘anything which is too much for the subject to bear’. Thus, jouissance is not felt as bliss, but most often as unbearable suffering. This jouissance implies a desire to eliminate the lack which we have already been condemned to by our assimilation into the Symbolic.

 

 

Jacques Lacan's theories of the psyche, though mostly clinical in application

No. Lacan’s primary criticism of traditional psychoanalysis was its clinical orientation. Yes, he was a clinician, but he sought to articulate a theory which went far beyond the clinic.

 

Since we live in a world where we and everything is lacking we try to fill that lack in many different ways (with commodities, political ideologies, etc). But this is also continually doomed to failure so everytime our rationalization of reality fails we have to provide a scapegoat, someone who fucked the whole attempt up and who needs to be eliminated in order for it to succeed.

 

I think your conflating some applications of Lacan with Lacan himself. Additionally, it’s not that individuals perceive somebody who was a prior cause to disrupting our rationalization of reality, but the perception is imminent. The individual externalizes the cause of social disharmony into a particular Other – as Zizek has pointed out, the figure of the Jew in Nazi ideology – in such a way as that harmony or wholeness becomes achievable at the point of the Other’s elimination. I know this sounds similar to your explanation, but my primary point of contention is that scapegoating is not what results from a failure to rationalize reality, but from a failure to force what we perceive to be reality to correspond with some ideal which we have articulated. Though this is all very rooted in the political applications made by Stavrakakis and Zizek, for example.

 

It's also Lacan's argument that we need to come into contact with that lack since we are always denying it and its his argument that in this occurs in somewhat of an event for the subject that he calls the passage unto the act. At this point the subject breaks down into psychosis until they are able to resurface with a new construction of reality. It's Lacan's argument regarding this that we need to live in between psychosis and our state when we live in our rationalized symbolic universes.

 

Lacan’s argument is more about accepting lack as opposed to “coming into contact” with it. He articulates the state of lack as one of castration, whereby the subject can either accept this state or deny it. Lacan actually argues that it is only by accepting castration that the subject can achieve some degree or version of normalcy. As such, it is the refusal of lack that is at the core of all psychopathological structures.

 

Of course, the notion of constitutive lack is one of the most heavily contested areas of Lacan’s work. I’m pretty much tired of typing, I may add more later.

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As far as learning about Lacan, I to some extend agree with solistus that Lacan himself is not your best bet for gaining understanding. I, too, am a bit of a Zizek feind in this regard ("How to Read Lacan" is a great primer), but bear in mind when reading his literature that it is very biased toward his interpretations and conceptions of Lacanian theory and their political implications. There are a few pure Lacanina primers out there, the names of which evade me at the moment but can probably be found with a google search, that would give a more objective view of his original theories.

 

Oh, and Todd McGowan is a badass in terms of writing in a surprisingly comprehendable manner.

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which alternative do you use? i have seen about ten or so. i personally like the identifying with the subject "We are all Jews" concept.

 

I believe you mean identifying with the "abject", or excluded Other in the social field.

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So.. I don't know ALOT about Lacan, I have an understanding.

Can anyone explain how he or any Lacanian could link to next years topic?

 

Stable concept of nature/Solving ecological catastrophe/environmental homeostasis = fantasy.

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