Difference between revisions of "Metonymy"

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:[[Fr]]. ''[[métonymie]]''
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{{Top}}métonymie{{Bottom}}
  
=====Linguistic Definition=====
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===Linguistic Definition===
[[Metonymy]] is usually defined as a trope in which a term is used to denote an [[object]] which it does not literally refer to, but with which it is closely linked.
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[[Metonymy]] is usually defined as a [[trope]] in which a term is used to denote an [[object]] which it does not literally refer to, but with which it is closely linked.  This link may be one of [[physical]] contiguity, but not necessarily.
  
This link may be one of physical contiguity, but not necessarily.
+
===Roman Jakobson===
 +
However, [[Lacan]]'s use of the term owes little to this definition apart from the [[notion]] of contiguity, since it is inspired by the [[work]] of [[Roman Jakobson]], who established an opposition between [[metonymy]] and [[metaphor]].<ref>[[Roman Jakobson|Jakobson, Roman]]. "Two aspects of language and two types of aphasic disturbances," ''Selected Writings'', vol. II, ''[[Word]] and Language'', The [[Hague]]: Mouton, 1971 [1956]., p. 21.</ref>
  
=====Roman Jakobson=====
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===Metonymic Axis of Language===
However, [[Lacan]]'s use of the term owes little to this definition apart from the notion of contiguity, since it is inspired by the work of [[Roman Jakobson]], who established an opposition between [[metonymy]] and [[metaphor]].<ref>[[Roman Jakobson|Jakobson, Roman]]. (1956) "Two aspects of language and two types of aphasic disturbances," ''Selected Writings'', vol. II, ''Word and Language'', The Hague: Mouton, 1971, p. 21.</ref>
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Following [[Jakobson]], [[Lacan]] [[links]] [[metonymy]] to the combinatorial axis of [[language]], as opposed to the [[substitutive]] axis.
  
=====Metonymic Axis of Language=====
+
===Diachronic Dimension of Signifying Chain===
Following [[Jakobson]], [[Lacan]] links [[metonymy]] to the combinatorial axis of [[language]], as opposed to the substitutive axis.
+
In his most detailed work on the subject, [[Lacan]] defines [[metonymy]] as the [[diachrony|diachronic]] relation between one [[signifier]] and [[another]] in the [[signifying chain]].
  
=====Diachronic Dimension of Signifying Chain=====
+
===Metonymy Versus Metaphor===
In his most detailed work on the subject, [[Lacan]] defines [[metonymy]] as the [[diachrony|diachronic]] relation between one [[signifier]] and another in the [[signifying chain]].
+
[[Metonymy]] thus concerns the ways in which [[signifier]]s can be combined / linked in a single [[signifying chain]] ("horizontal" relations), whereas [[metaphor]] concerns the ways in which a [[signifier]] in one [[signifying chain]] may be substituted for a [[signifier]] in another [[chain]] ("vertical" relations).  Together, [[metaphor]] and [[metonymy]] constitute the way in which [[signification]] is produced.
  
=====Metonymy Versus Metaphor=====
+
===Formula for Metonymy===
[[Metonymy]] thus concerns the ways in which [[signifier]]s can be combined / linked in a single [[signifying chain]] ("horizontal" relations), whereas [[metaphor]] concerns the ways in which a [[signifier]] in one [[signifying chain]] may be substituted for a [[signifier]] in another [[chain]] ("vertical" relations).
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[[Lacan]] provides a [[formula]] for [[metonymy]].<ref>{{E}} p.164</ref>
 
 
Together, [[metaphor]] and [[metonymy]] constitute the way in which [[signification]] is produced.
 
 
 
=====Formula for Metonymy=====
 
[[Lacan]] provides a formula for [[metonymy]].<ref>{{E}} p.164</ref>
 
  
 
[[Image:Lacan-metonymy.jpg|center]]
 
[[Image:Lacan-metonymy.jpg|center]]
  
This formula is to be read as follows:
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This formula is to be read as follows:
 
 
On the lefthand side of the [[algebra|equation]], outside the brackets, [[Lacan]] writes '''<i>f</i>''' '''S''', the [[paternal function|signifying function]], which is to say the effect of [[signification]].
 
  
Inside the brackets he writes '''S . . . S'''', the link between one [[signifier]] and another in a [[signifying chain]].
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On the lefthand side of the [[algebra|equation]], [[outside]] the brackets, [[Lacan]] writes '''<i>f</i>''' '''S''', the [[paternal function|signifying function]], which is to say the effect of [[signification]].  [[Inside]] the brackets he writes '''S . . . S'''', the link between one [[signifier]] and another in a [[signifying chain]].
  
On the righthand side of the [[algebra|equation]] there is '''S''', the [[signifier]], and ('''---'''), the [[bar]] of the [[Saussure]]ean [[sign|algorithm]].
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On the righthand side of the [[algebra|equation]] there is '''S''', the [[signifier]], and ('''---'''), the [[bar]] of the [[Saussure]]ean [[sign|algorithm]]. The [[sign]] <b>=</b> is to be read "is congruent with."
  
The [[sign]] <b>=</b> is to be read "is congruent with."
+
===Formula for Metonymy - Summary===
 
+
Thus the [[whole]] formula reads:  
=====Formula for Metonymy - Summary=====
 
Thus the whole formula reads:  
 
  
 
<blockquote>"The signifying function of the connection of the signifier with the signifier is congruent with maintenance of the bar."</blockquote>
 
<blockquote>"The signifying function of the connection of the signifier with the signifier is congruent with maintenance of the bar."</blockquote>
  
The formula is meant to illustrate [[Lacan]]'s thesis that in [[metonymy]] the [[resistance]] of [[signification]] is maintained, the [[bar]] is not crossed, no new [[signified]] is produced.
+
The formula is meant to illustrate [[Lacan]]'s [[thesis]] that in [[metonymy]] the [[resistance]] of [[signification]] is maintained, the [[bar]] is not crossed, no new [[signified]] is produced.
  
=====Contexts=====
+
===Contexts===
[[Lacan]] puts his concept of [[metonymy]] to use in a variety of contexts.
+
[[Lacan]] puts his [[concept]] of [[metonymy]] to use in a variety of contexts.
  
=====Metonymy and Desire=====
+
===Metonymy and Desire===
 
[[Lacan]] presents [[metonymy]] as a [[diachrony|diachronic]] movement from one [[signifier]] to another along the [[signifying chain]], as one [[signifier]] constantly refers to another in a perpetual [[deferred action|deferral]] of [[signification|meaning]].
 
[[Lacan]] presents [[metonymy]] as a [[diachrony|diachronic]] movement from one [[signifier]] to another along the [[signifying chain]], as one [[signifier]] constantly refers to another in a perpetual [[deferred action|deferral]] of [[signification|meaning]].
  
[[Desire]] is also characterized by exactly the same never-ending process of continual [[deferred action|deferral]]; since [[desire]] is always "desire for something else,"<ref>{{E}} p.167</ref> as soon as the [[object]] of [[desire]] is attained, it is no longer desirable, and the [[subject]]'s [[desire]] fixes on another [[object]].
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[[Desire]] is also characterized by exactly the same never-ending [[process]] of continual [[deferred action|deferral]]; since [[desire]] is always "desire for something else,"<ref>{{E}} p. 167</ref> as soon as the [[object]] of [[desire]] is attained, it is no longer desirable, and the [[subject]]'s [[desire]] fixes on another [[object]]. Thus [[Lacan]] writes that "desire ''is'' a metonymy."<ref>{{E}} p. 175</ref>
 
 
Thus [[Lacan]] writes that "desire ''is'' a metonymy."<ref>{{E}} p.175</ref>
 
 
 
=====Metonymy and Displacement=====
 
[[Lacan]] also follows [[Jakobson]] in linking the [[metaphor]]-[[metonymy]] distinction to the mechanisms of the [[dream work]] described by [[Freud]].
 
 
 
However, he differs from [[Jakobson]] over the precise nature of this link.
 
  
Just as [[displacement]] is logically prior to [[condensation]], so [[metonymy]] is the condition for [[metaphor]], because "the coordination of signifiers has to be possible before transferences of the signified are able to take place."<ref>{{S3}} p.229</ref>
+
===Metonymy and Displacement===
 +
[[Lacan]] also follows [[Jakobson]] in linking the [[metaphor]]-[[metonymy]] [[distinction]] to the mechanisms of the [[dream work]] described by [[Freud]].  However, he differs from [[Jakobson]] over the precise [[nature]] of this link.  Just as [[displacement]] is logically prior to [[condensation]], so [[metonymy]] is the condition for [[metaphor]], because "the coordination of [[signifiers]] has to be possible before transferences of the signified are able to take [[place]]."<ref>{{S3}} p. 229</ref>
  
== See Also ==
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==See Also==
 +
{{See}}
 +
* [[Bar]]
 
* [[Desire]]
 
* [[Desire]]
 +
||
 
* [[Displacement]]
 
* [[Displacement]]
 
* [[Language]]
 
* [[Language]]
 +
||
 
* [[Metaphor]]
 
* [[Metaphor]]
 
* [[Signification]]
 
* [[Signification]]
 +
||
 
* [[Signifier]]
 
* [[Signifier]]
 
* [[Signifying chain]]
 
* [[Signifying chain]]
 +
{{Also}}
  
 
== References ==
 
== References ==
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<div style="font-size:11px" class="references-small">
 
<references/>
 
<references/>
 +
</div>
  
 
[[Category:Psychoanalysis]]
 
[[Category:Psychoanalysis]]

Latest revision as of 15:27, 20 May 2019

French: métonymie

Linguistic Definition

Metonymy is usually defined as a trope in which a term is used to denote an object which it does not literally refer to, but with which it is closely linked. This link may be one of physical contiguity, but not necessarily.

Roman Jakobson

However, Lacan's use of the term owes little to this definition apart from the notion of contiguity, since it is inspired by the work of Roman Jakobson, who established an opposition between metonymy and metaphor.[1]

Metonymic Axis of Language

Following Jakobson, Lacan links metonymy to the combinatorial axis of language, as opposed to the substitutive axis.

Diachronic Dimension of Signifying Chain

In his most detailed work on the subject, Lacan defines metonymy as the diachronic relation between one signifier and another in the signifying chain.

Metonymy Versus Metaphor

Metonymy thus concerns the ways in which signifiers can be combined / linked in a single signifying chain ("horizontal" relations), whereas metaphor concerns the ways in which a signifier in one signifying chain may be substituted for a signifier in another chain ("vertical" relations). Together, metaphor and metonymy constitute the way in which signification is produced.

Formula for Metonymy

Lacan provides a formula for metonymy.[2]

Lacan-metonymy.jpg

This formula is to be read as follows:

On the lefthand side of the equation, outside the brackets, Lacan writes f S, the signifying function, which is to say the effect of signification. Inside the brackets he writes S . . . S', the link between one signifier and another in a signifying chain.

On the righthand side of the equation there is S, the signifier, and (---), the bar of the Saussureean algorithm. The sign = is to be read "is congruent with."

Formula for Metonymy - Summary

Thus the whole formula reads:

"The signifying function of the connection of the signifier with the signifier is congruent with maintenance of the bar."

The formula is meant to illustrate Lacan's thesis that in metonymy the resistance of signification is maintained, the bar is not crossed, no new signified is produced.

Contexts

Lacan puts his concept of metonymy to use in a variety of contexts.

Metonymy and Desire

Lacan presents metonymy as a diachronic movement from one signifier to another along the signifying chain, as one signifier constantly refers to another in a perpetual deferral of meaning.

Desire is also characterized by exactly the same never-ending process of continual deferral; since desire is always "desire for something else,"[3] as soon as the object of desire is attained, it is no longer desirable, and the subject's desire fixes on another object. Thus Lacan writes that "desire is a metonymy."[4]

Metonymy and Displacement

Lacan also follows Jakobson in linking the metaphor-metonymy distinction to the mechanisms of the dream work described by Freud. However, he differs from Jakobson over the precise nature of this link. Just as displacement is logically prior to condensation, so metonymy is the condition for metaphor, because "the coordination of signifiers has to be possible before transferences of the signified are able to take place."[5]

See Also

References

  1. Jakobson, Roman. "Two aspects of language and two types of aphasic disturbances," Selected Writings, vol. II, Word and Language, The Hague: Mouton, 1971 [1956]., p. 21.
  2. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits: A Selection. Trans. Alan Sheridan. London: Tavistock Publications, 1977. p.164
  3. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits: A Selection. Trans. Alan Sheridan. London: Tavistock Publications, 1977. p. 167
  4. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits: A Selection. Trans. Alan Sheridan. London: Tavistock Publications, 1977. p. 175
  5. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book III. The Psychoses, 1955-56. Trans. Russell Grigg. London: Routledge, 1993. p. 229