of the New Lacanian School
On Saturday, 8th May at 2pm the London Society will hold a seminar on
Psychoanalysis & Theory chaired by Dr. Veronique Voruz
Psychoanalysis & Theory: Democracy and Globalisation; The logical structure of democracy has shifted from universalism to globalisation. How does this shift impact on political thought?
Guest Speakers are Colin Wright (University of Nottingham) and Andreja Zevnik (Aberystwyth University). See the two abstracts below:
Nomos as a superego and the war on terror as a positive rupture to the system
This paper explores ways in which law can be thought differently. It focuses on legal practices of the US administration in relation to the war on terror, and in particular Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The academic discourse of the war on terror (WoT) commonly represents its practices and policies as an exception to the norm and to the normality characterising the reality of western liberal and democratic societies. This paper challenges this perception by arguing that something much more radical is at stake. The US response to the 9/11 attacks and a subsequent development of the WoT policies is used as a smokescreen to divert the attention from the impact 9/11 and the US response had on the ‘democratic West’. The violence committed against the (Islamic/barbaric) Other exposed the nomos – or the underlying truth of the system – within which the entire legal and normative order of the western liberal democracy has been grounded. The response re-drew the old colonial lines separating us and them, civilised and the barbarian. Such response however, should not be seen as exceptional or something out of ordinary, it is rather symptomatic
of a western liberal system ordered accordingly with the paternal Oedipal
laws. Here nomos acts as a superego. A Lacanian approach can provide an insightful picture of what is in fact going on in the politics of the WoT; and to go further, in particular
the ‘last Lacan’ can help us rethink the relationships between law and life,
subject and jouissance; relationships most affected by ‘democratic violence’. The paper concludes with an acknowledgement that 9/11 and the WoT produced a positive rupture in the system, where dominant conceptions of how law is to function, and what constitutes a subject, can finally be rethought on a ‘global scale’.
Department of International Politics
Counting the Singular Under the Tyranny of the Average
This paper traces the mapping performed by the Lacanian clinic of the transformations in subjectivity consequent upon the dominance of number in globalisation. This dominance is everywhere visible: from the power of the science of statistics to a widespread culture of managerialism, from the biopolitical deployment of demographics to the vote as the supposed essence of political participation, and from the mantra of consumer choice to that purely numerical measure of sociality that is 'Facebook'. In a disturbing sense, we can see the way in which Lacan’s assertion that ‘the Other Doesn’t Exist’ has been transformed into Margaret Thatcher’s famous claim that ‘There’s no such thing as society’. In such a context, the egoic individual must continually ask itself ‘how can I make myself count?’. The answer that comes from an Other no longer based on the exception is ‘by conforming to a statistical average’. The subject, however, as at its core an uncodifiable because unique relation to the real, is systematically dis-counted under this tyranny of the average.
The Lacanian orientation has responded to these changes in the nature of the social link and the symptoms they give rise to, drawing particularly on the teaching of the ‘last Lacan’. The quarter-turn of the master’s discourse to that of university discourse, the related decline of the exceptional Name-of-the-Father and the rise of multiple scattered names-of-the-Father, the convergence of science and capitalism in the ‘alethosphere’, the proliferation of consumer gadgets or ‘lathouses’ that plug directly into the injunction of jouissance, all of these support Marie-Hélène Brousse’s recent proposal of a ‘statistical superego’ and Jacques-Alain Miller’s invention of the clinical category of ‘ordinary psychosis’. This paper will defend the specificity of psychoanalytic knowledge as a means of continuing to count the singularity of the subject under this tyranny of the numerical average.
School of Modern Languages and Culture
University of Nottingham
8th May, 2pm
Bloomsbury Suite, 2nd Floor
Malet St. London WC1
Fee: £15 / £10 concs.