From No Subject - Encyclopedia of Lacanian Psychoanalysis
forclusion (a term in use in the French legal system; in English, 'foreclosure )
as the best way of translating Verwerfung into French (S3, 321). It is this term
that Lacan continues to use for the rest of his work.
In 1954, when Lacan first turns to the Freudian concept of Verwerfung in his
search for a specific mechanism for psychosis, it is not clear exactly what is
repudiated; it can be castration that is repudiated, or speech itself (Sl, 53), or
'the genital plane' (Sl, 58). Lacan finds a solution to the problem at the end of
1957, when he proposes the idea that it is the NAME-OF-THE-FATHER (a funda-
mental signifier) that is the object of foreclosure (E, 217). In this way Lacan is
able to combine in one formula both of the themes that had previously
dominated his thinking on the causality of psychosis (the absence of the father
and the concept of Verwerfung). This formula remains at the heart of Lacan's
thinking on psychosis throughout the rest of his work.
When the Name-of-the-Father is foreclosed for a particular subject, it leaves
a hole in the symbolic order which can never be filled; the subject can then be
said to have a psychotic structure, even if he shows none of the classical signs
of psychosis. Sooner or later, when the foreclosed Name-of-the-Father re-
appears in the real, the subject is unable to assimilate it, and the result of
this 'collision with the inassimilable signifier' (S3, 321) is the 'entry into
psychosis' proper, characterised typically by the onset of HALLUCINATIONS
Foreclosure is to be distinguished from other operations such aS REPRESSION,
NEGATION, and PROJECTION.
e Repression Foreclosure differs from repression in that the foreclosed
element is not buried in the unconscious but expelled from the unconscious.
Repression is the operation which constitutes neurosis, whereas foreclosure is
the operation which constitutes psychosis.