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=====Early Work=====
 
=====Early Work=====
 
=====Social Structure=====
 
=====Social Structure=====
In his [[Jacques Lacan:Bibliography|early work]], [[Lacan]] uses the term "[[structure]]" to refer to "[[structure|social structures]]" by which he means a specific set of [[affect]]ive relations between family members.  
+
In his [[Jacques Lacan:Bibliography|early work]], [[Lacan]] uses the term "[[structure]]" to refer to "[[structure|social structures]]" by which he means a specific set of [[affect]]ive relations between [[family]] members.  
  
 
=====Family Complexes=====
 
=====Family Complexes=====
The [[child]] perceives these relations much more profoundly than the [[adult]], and [[introjection|internalizes]] them in the [[complex]].<ref>{{Ec}} p.89</ref>.
+
The [[child]] perceives these relations much more profoundly than the [[adult]], and [[introjection|internalizes]] [[them]] in the [[complex]].<ref>{{Ec}} p.89</ref>.
  
 
=====Nature of the Psyche=====
 
=====Nature of the Psyche=====
Line 13: Line 13:
  
 
=====Inter- and Intra- subjectivity=====
 
=====Inter- and Intra- subjectivity=====
From this point on, the term "[[structure]]" retains this sense of something both '''[[intersubjectivity|intersubjective]]''' and '''[[intersubjectivity|intrasubjective]]''', the '''internal [[representation]] of [[intersubjectivity|interpersonal relations]]'''.  
+
From this point on, the term "[[structure]]" retains this [[sense]] of something both '''[[intersubjectivity|intersubjective]]''' and '''[[intersubjectivity|intrasubjective]]''', the '''[[internal]] [[representation]] of [[intersubjectivity|interpersonal relations]]'''.  
  
This remains a key point throughout [[Lacan]]'s [[Jacques Lacan:Bibliography|work]], in which the emphasis on [[structure]] is a constant reminder that what determines the [[subject]] is not some supposed "essence" but simply his position with respect to other [[subject]]s and other [[signifier]]s.  
+
This remains a key point throughout [[Lacan]]'s [[Jacques Lacan:Bibliography|work]], in which the emphasis on [[structure]] is a constant reminder that what determines the [[subject]] is not some supposed "[[essence]]" but simply his [[position]] with respect to other [[subject]]s and other [[signifier]]s.  
  
Already in 1938, we find [[Lacan]] arguing that "the most notable defect of analytic doctrine" at that time was that it tended "to ignore structure in favour of a dynamic approach."<ref>{{1938}} p. 58</ref>
+
Already in 1938, we find [[Lacan]] arguing that "the most notable defect of [[analytic]] [[doctrine]]" at that [[time]] was that it tended "to ignore structure in favour of a [[dynamic]] approach."<ref>{{1938}} p. 58</ref>
  
This anticipates his later emphasis on the [[symbolic order]] as the realm of [[structure]] which [[analyst]]s have ignored in favour of the [[imaginary]]; "social structures are symbolic."<ref>{{Ec}} p. 132</ref>
+
This anticipates his later emphasis on the [[symbolic order]] as the realm of [[structure]] which [[analyst]]s have ignored in favour of the [[imaginary]]; "[[social]] structures are [[symbolic]]."<ref>{{Ec}} p. 132</ref>
  
 
=====Structural Linguistics=====
 
=====Structural Linguistics=====
In the mid-1950s, when [[Lacan]] begins to reformulate his ideas in terms borrowed from [[Saussure]]an [[Saussure|structural linguistics]], the term "[[structure]]" comes to be increasingly associated with [[Saussure]]'s model of [[language]].  
+
In the mid-1950s, when [[Lacan]] begins to reformulate his [[ideas]] in [[terms]] borrowed from [[Saussure]]an [[Saussure|structural linguistics]], the term "[[structure]]" comes to be increasingly associated with [[Saussure]]'s [[model]] of [[language]].  
  
[[Saussure]] analyzed [[language]] (''[[language|la langue]]'') as a system in which there are no positive terms, only differences.<ref>[[Ferdinand de Saussure|Saussure, Ferdinand de]]. 1916: 120</ref>
+
[[Saussure]] [[analyzed]] [[language]] (''[[language|la langue]]'') as a [[system]] in which there are no positive terms, only differences.<ref>[[Ferdinand de Saussure|Saussure, Ferdinand de]]. 1916: 120</ref>
  
It is this concept of a system in which each unit is constituted purely by virtue of its differences from the other units which comes to constitute the core meaning of the term "[[structure]]" in [[Lacan]]'s [[{{LB}}|work]] from this point on.  
+
It is this [[concept]] of a system in which each unit is constituted purely by virtue of its differences from the other units which comes to constitute the core [[meaning]] of the term "[[structure]]" in [[Lacan]]'s [[{{LB}}|work]] from this point on.  
  
[[Language]] is the paradigmatic [[structure]], and [[Lacan]]'s famous dictum, "the unconscious is structured like a language", is therefore tautologous, since "to be structured" and "to be like a language" mean the same thing.
+
[[Language]] is the paradigmatic [[structure]], and [[Lacan]]'s famous dictum, "the unconscious is structured like a language", is therefore tautologous, since "to be structured" and "to be like a language" mean the same [[thing]].
  
 
=====Claude Lévi-Strauss=====
 
=====Claude Lévi-Strauss=====
 
=====Structuralist Movement=====
 
=====Structuralist Movement=====
 
=====Structuralist Approach=====
 
=====Structuralist Approach=====
[[Saussure]]'s structural approach to [[linguistic]]s was developed further by [[Roman Jakobson]], who developed phoneme theory; [[Jakobson]]'s work was then taken up by the French anthropologist, [[Claude Lévi-Strauss]], who used the [[structure|structural phonemic model]] to analyze non-linguistic cultural data such as [[anthropology|kinship relations]] and [[myth]].  
+
[[Saussure]]'s structural approach to [[linguistic]]s was developed further by [[Roman Jakobson]], who developed [[phoneme]] [[theory]]; [[Jakobson]]'s [[work]] was then taken up by the [[French]] anthropologist, [[Claude Lévi-Strauss]], who used the [[structure|structural phonemic model]] to analyze non-linguistic [[cultural]] data such as [[anthropology|kinship relations]] and [[myth]].  
  
This application of [[structure|structural analysis]] to [[anthropology]] launched the [[structure|structuralist movement]] by showing how the [[Saussure]]an concept of [[structure]] could be applied to an object of enquiry other than [[language]].  
+
This application of [[structure|structural analysis]] to [[anthropology]] launched the [[structure|structuralist movement]] by showing how the [[Saussure]]an concept of [[structure]] could be applied to an [[object]] of enquiry other than [[language]].  
  
 
[[Lacan]] was heavily influenced by all three of these thinkers, and in this sense he can be seen as part of the [[structure|structuralist movement]].  
 
[[Lacan]] was heavily influenced by all three of these thinkers, and in this sense he can be seen as part of the [[structure|structuralist movement]].  
Line 44: Line 44:
 
Alongside the references to [[language]], [[Lacan]] also refers the concept of [[structure]] to [[mathematics]], principally to [[mathematics|set theory]] and [[topology]].
 
Alongside the references to [[language]], [[Lacan]] also refers the concept of [[structure]] to [[mathematics]], principally to [[mathematics|set theory]] and [[topology]].
  
In 1956, for example, he states that "a structure is in the first place a group of elements forming a covariant set."<ref>{{S3}} p. 183</ref>
+
In 1956, for example, he states that "a structure is in the first [[place]] a group of elements forming a covariant set."<ref>{{S3}} p. 183</ref>
  
 
=====Topology=====
 
=====Topology=====
Two years later he again links the concept of [[structure]] with [[mathematics|mathematical set theory]], and adds a reference to [[topology]].<ref>{{Ec}} p. 648-9</ref>).  
+
Two years later he again [[links]] the concept of [[structure]] with [[mathematics|mathematical set theory]], and adds a reference to [[topology]].<ref>{{Ec}} p. 648-9</ref>).  
  
 
By the 1970s, [[topology]] has replaced [[language]] as the principal paradigm of [[structure]] for [[Lacan]].  
 
By the 1970s, [[topology]] has replaced [[language]] as the principal paradigm of [[structure]] for [[Lacan]].  
Line 54: Line 54:
  
 
=====Surface and Depth=====
 
=====Surface and Depth=====
The concept of [[structure]] is often taken to imply an opposition between surface and depth, between directly observable phenomena and "deep structures" which are not the object of immediate experience.  
+
The concept of [[structure]] is often taken to imply an opposition between surface and depth, between directly observable phenomena and "deep structures" which are not the object of immediate [[experience]].  
  
Such would seem to be the opposition implied in the distinction [[Lacan]] draws between [[symptoms]] (surface) and [[structure]]s (depth).  
+
Such would seem to be the opposition implied in the [[distinction]] [[Lacan]] draws between [[symptoms]] (surface) and [[structure]]s (depth).  
  
 
However, [[Lacan]] does not in fact agree that such an opposition is implicit in the concept of [[structure]].<ref>{{Ec}} p. 649</ref>
 
However, [[Lacan]] does not in fact agree that such an opposition is implicit in the concept of [[structure]].<ref>{{Ec}} p. 649</ref>
  
On the one hand, he rejects the concept of "directly observable phenomena", arguing that observation is always already theoretical.  
+
On the one hand, he rejects the concept of "directly observable phenomena", arguing that observation is always already [[theoretical]].  
  
On the other hand, he also rejects the idea that [[structure]]s are somehow "deep" or distant from experience, arguing that they are present in the field of experience itself; the [[unconscious]] is on the surface, and looking for it in "the depths" is to miss it.  
+
On the other hand, he also rejects the [[idea]] that [[structure]]s are somehow "deep" or distant from experience, arguing that they are [[present]] in the field of experience itself; the [[unconscious]] is on the surface, and [[looking]] for it in "the depths" is to miss it.  
  
As with many other binary oppositions, the model [[Lacan]] prefers is that of the [[moebius strip]]; just as the two sides of the [[strip]] are in fact [[continuous]], so [[structure]] is continuous with phenomena.
+
As with many other binary oppositions, the model [[Lacan]] prefers is that of the [[moebius strip]]; just as the two sides of the [[strip]] are in fact continuous, so [[structure]] is continuous with phenomena.
  
 
=====Structural Position=====
 
=====Structural Position=====
 
The most important feature of [[structure|structural analysis]] is not, then, any supposed distinction between [[structure|surface]] and [[structure|depth]], but, as [[Lévi-Strauss]] shows in his [[structure|structural analysis]] of [[myth]], the discovery of fixed relations between loci which are themselves empty.<ref>[[Lévi-Strauss]] 1955</ref>  
 
The most important feature of [[structure|structural analysis]] is not, then, any supposed distinction between [[structure|surface]] and [[structure|depth]], but, as [[Lévi-Strauss]] shows in his [[structure|structural analysis]] of [[myth]], the discovery of fixed relations between loci which are themselves empty.<ref>[[Lévi-Strauss]] 1955</ref>  
  
In other words, whatever elements may be placed in the positions specified by a given [[structure]], the relations between the positions themselves remain the same.  
+
In other [[words]], whatever elements may be placed in the positions specified by a given [[structure]], the relations between the positions themselves remain the same.  
  
 
Thus the elements interact not on the basis of any inherent or intrinsic properties they possess, but simply on the basis of the positions which they occupy in the [[structure]].
 
Thus the elements interact not on the basis of any inherent or intrinsic properties they possess, but simply on the basis of the positions which they occupy in the [[structure]].
  
 
====="Clinical Structures"=====
 
====="Clinical Structures"=====
In line with many other [[psychoanalyst]]s, [[Lacan]] distinguishes three principal nosographic categories; [[neurosis]], [[psychosis]] and [[perversion]].  
+
In line with many other [[psychoanalyst]]s, [[Lacan]] distinguishes three principal nosographic [[categories]]; [[neurosis]], [[psychosis]] and [[perversion]].  
  
His originality lies in the fact that he regards these categories as [[structure]]s rather than simply as collections of [[symptom]]s.<ref>(N.B. [[Lacan]] prefers to speak in terms of "[[structure|Freudian structures]]" rather than "[[structure|clinical structures]]", but the latter term is the one which predominates in the writings of [[Lacan]]ian [[psychoanalyst]]s today.)</ref>
+
His originality lies in the fact that he regards these categories as [[structure]]s rather than simply as collections of [[symptom]]s.<ref>(N.B. [[Lacan]] prefers to [[speak]] in terms of "[[structure|Freudian structures]]" rather than "[[structure|clinical structures]]", but the latter term is the one which predominates in the writings of [[Lacan]]ian [[psychoanalyst]]s today.)</ref>
  
 
=====[[Lacan]]ian Nosography=====
 
=====[[Lacan]]ian Nosography=====
Line 89: Line 89:
 
[[Lacan]] follows [[Freud]] in arguing that the classical method of [[psychoanalytic treatment]] (involving [[free association]] and the use of the couch) is only appropriate for [[neurotic]] [[subject]]s and [[perverse]] [[subject]]s, and not for [[psychotic]]s.  
 
[[Lacan]] follows [[Freud]] in arguing that the classical method of [[psychoanalytic treatment]] (involving [[free association]] and the use of the couch) is only appropriate for [[neurotic]] [[subject]]s and [[perverse]] [[subject]]s, and not for [[psychotic]]s.  
  
Thus when [[Lacanian]] [[analyst]]s work with psychotic patients, they use a substantially modified method of [[treatment]].
+
Thus when [[Lacanian]] [[analyst]]s work with psychotic [[patients]], they use a substantially modified method of [[treatment]].
  
 
=====Critical Period Hypothesis=====
 
=====Critical Period Hypothesis=====
One of the most fundamental axioms of [[psychoanalysis]] is that the [[subject]]'s [[structure|clinical structure]] is determined by his experiences in the first years of life.  
+
One of the most fundamental axioms of [[psychoanalysis]] is that the [[subject]]'s [[structure|clinical structure]] is determined by his experiences in the first years of [[life]].  
  
 
In this sense, [[psychoanalysis]] is based on a "critical period hypothesis"; the first years of life are the critical period in which the [[subject]]'s [[structure]] is determined.  
 
In this sense, [[psychoanalysis]] is based on a "critical period hypothesis"; the first years of life are the critical period in which the [[subject]]'s [[structure]] is determined.  
  
Although it is not clear how long this critical period lasts, it is held that after this critical period the clinical structure is fixed for ever and cannot be changed.  
+
Although it is not clear how long this critical period lasts, it is held that after this critical period the [[clinical]] structure is fixed for ever and cannot be changed.  
  
 
Neither [[psychoanalytic treatment]] nor anything else can, for example, turn a [[psychotic]] into a [[neurotic]].
 
Neither [[psychoanalytic treatment]] nor anything else can, for example, turn a [[psychotic]] into a [[neurotic]].
Line 126: Line 126:
  
 
==References==
 
==References==
 +
<div style="font-size:11px" class="references-small">
 
<references/>
 
<references/>
 +
</div>
  
 
[[Category:Symbolic]]
 
[[Category:Symbolic]]
 
{{OK}}
 
{{OK}}
 +
{{T}}
  
 
__NOTOC__
 
__NOTOC__

Latest revision as of 19:56, 20 May 2019

French: structure

Jacques Lacan

Early Work
Social Structure

In his early work, Lacan uses the term "structure" to refer to "social structures" by which he means a specific set of affective relations between family members.

Family Complexes

The child perceives these relations much more profoundly than the adult, and internalizes them in the complex.[1].

Nature of the Psyche

The term serves as a peg upon which Lacan can hang his own views of the "relational" nature of the psyche, in opposition to the atomistic theories then current in psychology.[2]

Inter- and Intra- subjectivity

From this point on, the term "structure" retains this sense of something both intersubjective and intrasubjective, the internal representation of interpersonal relations.

This remains a key point throughout Lacan's work, in which the emphasis on structure is a constant reminder that what determines the subject is not some supposed "essence" but simply his position with respect to other subjects and other signifiers.

Already in 1938, we find Lacan arguing that "the most notable defect of analytic doctrine" at that time was that it tended "to ignore structure in favour of a dynamic approach."[3]

This anticipates his later emphasis on the symbolic order as the realm of structure which analysts have ignored in favour of the imaginary; "social structures are symbolic."[4]

Structural Linguistics

In the mid-1950s, when Lacan begins to reformulate his ideas in terms borrowed from Saussurean structural linguistics, the term "structure" comes to be increasingly associated with Saussure's model of language.

Saussure analyzed language (la langue) as a system in which there are no positive terms, only differences.[5]

It is this concept of a system in which each unit is constituted purely by virtue of its differences from the other units which comes to constitute the core meaning of the term "structure" in Lacan's work from this point on.

Language is the paradigmatic structure, and Lacan's famous dictum, "the unconscious is structured like a language", is therefore tautologous, since "to be structured" and "to be like a language" mean the same thing.

Claude Lévi-Strauss
Structuralist Movement
Structuralist Approach

Saussure's structural approach to linguistics was developed further by Roman Jakobson, who developed phoneme theory; Jakobson's work was then taken up by the French anthropologist, Claude Lévi-Strauss, who used the structural phonemic model to analyze non-linguistic cultural data such as kinship relations and myth.

This application of structural analysis to anthropology launched the structuralist movement by showing how the Saussurean concept of structure could be applied to an object of enquiry other than language.

Lacan was heavily influenced by all three of these thinkers, and in this sense he can be seen as part of the structuralist movement.

However, Lacan prefers to dissociate himself from this movement, arguing that his approach differs in important ways from the structuralist approach.[6]

Mathematics

Alongside the references to language, Lacan also refers the concept of structure to mathematics, principally to set theory and topology.

In 1956, for example, he states that "a structure is in the first place a group of elements forming a covariant set."[7]

Topology

Two years later he again links the concept of structure with mathematical set theory, and adds a reference to topology.[8]).

By the 1970s, topology has replaced language as the principal paradigm of structure for Lacan.

He now argues that topology is not a mere metaphor for structure; it is that structure itself.[9]

Surface and Depth

The concept of structure is often taken to imply an opposition between surface and depth, between directly observable phenomena and "deep structures" which are not the object of immediate experience.

Such would seem to be the opposition implied in the distinction Lacan draws between symptoms (surface) and structures (depth).

However, Lacan does not in fact agree that such an opposition is implicit in the concept of structure.[10]

On the one hand, he rejects the concept of "directly observable phenomena", arguing that observation is always already theoretical.

On the other hand, he also rejects the idea that structures are somehow "deep" or distant from experience, arguing that they are present in the field of experience itself; the unconscious is on the surface, and looking for it in "the depths" is to miss it.

As with many other binary oppositions, the model Lacan prefers is that of the moebius strip; just as the two sides of the strip are in fact continuous, so structure is continuous with phenomena.

Structural Position

The most important feature of structural analysis is not, then, any supposed distinction between surface and depth, but, as Lévi-Strauss shows in his structural analysis of myth, the discovery of fixed relations between loci which are themselves empty.[11]

In other words, whatever elements may be placed in the positions specified by a given structure, the relations between the positions themselves remain the same.

Thus the elements interact not on the basis of any inherent or intrinsic properties they possess, but simply on the basis of the positions which they occupy in the structure.

"Clinical Structures"

In line with many other psychoanalysts, Lacan distinguishes three principal nosographic categories; neurosis, psychosis and perversion.

His originality lies in the fact that he regards these categories as structures rather than simply as collections of symptoms.[12]

Lacanian Nosography

Lacanian nosography is a categorical classification system based on a discrete series, rather than a dimensional system based on a continuum.

The three major clinical structures are therefore mutually exclusive; a subject cannot be both neurotic and psychotic, for example.

The three major clinical structures together constitute all the three possible positions of the subject in relation to the Other; every subject encountered in psychoanalytic treatment can therefore be diagnosed as either neurotic, or psychotic, or perverse.

Each structure is distinguished by a different operation: neurosis by the operation of repression, perversion by the operation of disavowal, and psychosis by the operation of foreclosure.

Lacan follows Freud in arguing that the classical method of psychoanalytic treatment (involving free association and the use of the couch) is only appropriate for neurotic subjects and perverse subjects, and not for psychotics.

Thus when Lacanian analysts work with psychotic patients, they use a substantially modified method of treatment.

Critical Period Hypothesis

One of the most fundamental axioms of psychoanalysis is that the subject's clinical structure is determined by his experiences in the first years of life.

In this sense, psychoanalysis is based on a "critical period hypothesis"; the first years of life are the critical period in which the subject's structure is determined.

Although it is not clear how long this critical period lasts, it is held that after this critical period the clinical structure is fixed for ever and cannot be changed.

Neither psychoanalytic treatment nor anything else can, for example, turn a psychotic into a neurotic.

Within each of the three major clinical structures Lacan distinguishes various subdivisions.

For example within the clinical structure of neurosis, he distinguishes two kinds of neurosis (obsessional neurosis and hysteria), and within the clinical structure of psychosis he distinguishes between paranoia, schizophrenia and manic-depressive psychosis.

See Also

References

  1. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits. Paris: Seuil, 1966. p.89
  2. Lacan, Jacques. "Au-delà du 'principe de realité'." Evolution Psychiatrique. 1936: 67-86; Écrits. Paris: Seuil, 1966: 73-92.
  3. Lacan, Jacques. Les complexes familiaux dans la formation de l'individu. Essai d'analyse d'une fonction en psychologie, Paris: Navarin, 1984 [1938]. p. 58
  4. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits. Paris: Seuil, 1966. p. 132
  5. Saussure, Ferdinand de. 1916: 120
  6. Lacan, Jacques. Le Séminaire. Livre XX. Encore, 1972-73. Ed. Jacques-Alain Miller. Paris: Seuil, 1975. p.93
  7. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book III. The Psychoses, 1955-56. Trans. Russell Grigg. London: Routledge, 1993. p. 183
  8. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits. Paris: Seuil, 1966. p. 648-9
  9. Lacan, Jacques. 1973b
  10. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits. Paris: Seuil, 1966. p. 649
  11. Lévi-Strauss 1955
  12. (N.B. Lacan prefers to speak in terms of "Freudian structures" rather than "clinical structures", but the latter term is the one which predominates in the writings of Lacanian psychoanalysts today.)