Difference between revisions of "Subject's Castration"

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Lacanian notions of castration are linked to frustration and deprivation, lacking and giving, and ultimately to object relations. These represent a certain culmination of the history of psychoanalytic thought on the subject. To better define their importance, let us examine their history.
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[[Lacanian]] notions of [[castration]] are linked to [[frustration]] and [[deprivation]], [[lacking]] and giving, and ultimately to [[object]] relations. These [[represent]] a certain culmination of the [[history]] of [[psychoanalytic]] [[thought]] on the [[subject]]. To better define their importance, let us examine their history.
  
Starting in 1905, Freud posited a theory of object relations that would be linked to the stages of libidinal development (Freud, 1905d). He later proposed that the loss of feces should be considered as the precursor of the castration complex (Freud, 1916-1917e). Thus the Freudian concept is "absolutely realist."
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Starting in 1905, [[Freud]] posited a [[theory]] of [[object relations]] that would be linked to the [[stages]] of [[libidinal]] [[development]] (Freud, 1905d). He later proposed that the [[loss]] of [[feces]] should be considered as the precursor of the castration [[complex]] (Freud, 1916-1917e). Thus the [[Freudian]] [[concept]] is "absolutely realist."
  
It fell to August Stärke, in a long and important article published in 1921, to expand this theory by proposing that the breast no longer be considered the first lost object and the model for castration anxiety. Instead he recommended that masochistic pleasure also be connected with castration anxiety, which is expressed as a desire to receive the penis.
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It fell to August Stärke, in a long and important article published in 1921, to expand this theory by proposing that the [[breast]] no longer be considered the first [[lost object]] and the [[model]] for castration [[anxiety]]. Instead he recommended that masochistic [[pleasure]] also be connected with [[castration anxiety]], which is expressed as a [[desire]] to receive the [[penis]].
  
In 1928, building on theories advanced by Karl Abraham in 1924 and on thoughts that Freud expressed in 1926 about the peculiarities of the castration complex in the woman (Freud, 1926d), Melanie Klein differentiated between early anxiety in boys and girls. A boy's anxiety involves castration and a girl's the good internal functioning of her body.
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In 1928, building on theories advanced by Karl [[Abraham]] in 1924 and on [[thoughts]] that Freud expressed in 1926 [[about]] the peculiarities of the castration complex in the [[woman]] (Freud, 1926d), Melanie [[Klein]] differentiated between early anxiety in boys and girls. A boy's anxiety involves castration and a [[girl]]'s the [[good]] [[internal]] functioning of her [[body]].
  
Thus there is a continuous strand of Freudian thought that considers the object as tangible and castration as a reality. Even an author like Bion did not depart from this line (Bion, 1959). For him, links and attacks, the breast and the penis, are always quite real—even if their reality is only fantasmatic.
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Thus there is a continuous strand of Freudian thought that considers the object as tangible and castration as a [[reality]]. Even an [[author]] like Bion did not depart from this line (Bion, 1959). For him, [[links]] and attacks, the breast and the penis, are always quite real—even if their reality is only [[fantasmatic]].
  
Jacques Lacan revolutionized this tradition. For him, castration fundamentally pertains to the subjectivity of the subject. It derives from a symbolic debt, linked to the prohibition against incest and murder. In the real, the subject observes that a woman lacks a penis. Thus the relation to an object is just as much a relation to the lack of an object, the object existing just as much by its absence as by its presence.
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Jacques [[Lacan]] revolutionized this [[tradition]]. For him, castration fundamentally pertains to the [[subjectivity]] of the subject. It derives from a [[symbolic]] debt, linked to the [[prohibition]] against [[incest]] and [[murder]]. In the [[real]], the subject observes that a woman [[lacks]] a penis. Thus the relation to an object is just as much a relation to the [[lack]] of an object, the object existing just as much by its [[absence]] as by its [[presence]].
  
Lacan claimed that the necessity of this revolution was justified by what had become the "heteroclite nature of the castration complex" (Lacan, 2002, p. 306). He suggested this in the complete form of his graph of desire, where we find the unconscious and the Other on the one hand and the barred subject on the other. Then, successively, there are the signifier and the voice and then jouissance and castration related to "the drive as the treasure trove of signifiers" (p. 302). Castration means, "that jouissance has to be refused in order to be attained on the inverse scale of the law of desire" (p. 311).
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Lacan claimed that the [[necessity]] of this [[revolution]] was justified by what had become the "heteroclite [[nature]] of the castration complex" (Lacan, 2002, p. 306). He suggested this in the [[complete]] [[form]] of his [[graph]] of [[desire,]] where we find the [[unconscious]] and the [[Other]] on the one hand and the [[barred]] subject on the other. Then, successively, there are the [[signifier]] and the [[voice]] and then [[jouissance]] and castration related to "the [[drive]] as the treasure trove of [[signifiers]]" (p. 302). Castration means, "that jouissance has to be refused in [[order]] to be attained on the [[inverse]] scale of the law of desire" (p. 311).
  
For both sexes, the phallus is "the signifier destined to designate meaning effects as a whole" (p. 275) and "the signifier of the Other's desire" (p. 279). As such, castration is not directly related to the reality of the penis. In fact, this relation is problematic and requires several operations: "It is thus that the erectile organ—not as itself, or even as an image, but as a part that is missing in the desired image—comes to symbolize the place of jouissance," that is, as "the function of a missing signifier: ( 1)" (p. 307). "The shift of ( /) (lowercase phi) as phallic image from one side to the other of the equation between the imaginary and the symbolic renders it positive in any case, even if it fills a lack. Although it props up ( 1) it becomes F (capital phi) there, the symbolic phallus that cannot be negated, the signifier of jouissance" (p. 308). The castration complex is "incited" by the object ( /) that designates it in its imaginary function.
+
For both [[sexes]], the phallus is "the signifier destined to designate [[meaning]] effects as a [[whole]]" (p. 275) and "the signifier of the Other's desire" (p. 279). As such, castration is not directly related to the reality of the penis. In fact, this relation is problematic and requires several operations: "It is thus that the erectile organ—not as itself, or even as an [[image]], but as a part that is [[missing]] in the desired image—comes to [[symbolize]] the [[place]] of jouissance," that is, as "the function of a missing signifier: ( 1)" (p. 307). "The shift of ( /) (lowercase phi) as [[phallic]] image from one side to the other of the equation between the [[imaginary]] and [[the symbolic]] renders it positive in any [[case]], even if it fills a lack. Although it props up ( 1) it becomes F ([[capital]] phi) there, the symbolic phallus that cannot be negated, the signifier of jouissance" (p. 308). The castration complex is "incited" by the object ( /) that designates it in its imaginary function.
  
The Lacanian revolution corresponds to a complete separation of dialectic from intersubjectivity, the very kernel of Freudian thought. This dialectic is expressed in the schema RSI, which represents the real, the symbolic, and the imaginary. Castration is inscribed therein as related to frustration and deprivation, as Lacan showed in his seminar on object relations (Lacan, 1956-57).
+
The Lacanian revolution corresponds to a complete [[separation]] of [[dialectic]] from [[intersubjectivity]], the very kernel of Freudian thought. This dialectic is expressed in the [[schema]] RSI, which represents the real, the symbolic, and [[the imaginary]]. Castration is inscribed therein as related to frustration and deprivation, as Lacan showed in his [[seminar]] on object relations (Lacan, 1956-57).
  
  
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==References==
 
==References==
 
<references/>
 
<references/>
# Lacan, Jacques. (1994). Le séminaire-livre IV, (1956-57), La relation d'objet. Paris: Le Seuil.
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# [[Lacan, Jacques]]. (1994). Le séminaire-livre IV, (1956-57), La relation d'[[objet]]. [[Paris]]: Le Seuil.
# ——. (2002).Écrits: A selection. (Bruce Fink, Trans.) New York: W. W. Norton.
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# ——. (2002).Écrits: A selection. ([[Bruce Fink]], Trans.) New York: W. W. Norton.
  
 
[[Category:Jacques Lacan]]
 
[[Category:Jacques Lacan]]
 
[[Category:New]]
 
[[Category:New]]

Latest revision as of 19:58, 20 May 2019

Lacanian notions of castration are linked to frustration and deprivation, lacking and giving, and ultimately to object relations. These represent a certain culmination of the history of psychoanalytic thought on the subject. To better define their importance, let us examine their history.

Starting in 1905, Freud posited a theory of object relations that would be linked to the stages of libidinal development (Freud, 1905d). He later proposed that the loss of feces should be considered as the precursor of the castration complex (Freud, 1916-1917e). Thus the Freudian concept is "absolutely realist."

It fell to August Stärke, in a long and important article published in 1921, to expand this theory by proposing that the breast no longer be considered the first lost object and the model for castration anxiety. Instead he recommended that masochistic pleasure also be connected with castration anxiety, which is expressed as a desire to receive the penis.

In 1928, building on theories advanced by Karl Abraham in 1924 and on thoughts that Freud expressed in 1926 about the peculiarities of the castration complex in the woman (Freud, 1926d), Melanie Klein differentiated between early anxiety in boys and girls. A boy's anxiety involves castration and a girl's the good internal functioning of her body.

Thus there is a continuous strand of Freudian thought that considers the object as tangible and castration as a reality. Even an author like Bion did not depart from this line (Bion, 1959). For him, links and attacks, the breast and the penis, are always quite real—even if their reality is only fantasmatic.

Jacques Lacan revolutionized this tradition. For him, castration fundamentally pertains to the subjectivity of the subject. It derives from a symbolic debt, linked to the prohibition against incest and murder. In the real, the subject observes that a woman lacks a penis. Thus the relation to an object is just as much a relation to the lack of an object, the object existing just as much by its absence as by its presence.

Lacan claimed that the necessity of this revolution was justified by what had become the "heteroclite nature of the castration complex" (Lacan, 2002, p. 306). He suggested this in the complete form of his graph of desire, where we find the unconscious and the Other on the one hand and the barred subject on the other. Then, successively, there are the signifier and the voice and then jouissance and castration related to "the drive as the treasure trove of signifiers" (p. 302). Castration means, "that jouissance has to be refused in order to be attained on the inverse scale of the law of desire" (p. 311).

For both sexes, the phallus is "the signifier destined to designate meaning effects as a whole" (p. 275) and "the signifier of the Other's desire" (p. 279). As such, castration is not directly related to the reality of the penis. In fact, this relation is problematic and requires several operations: "It is thus that the erectile organ—not as itself, or even as an image, but as a part that is missing in the desired image—comes to symbolize the place of jouissance," that is, as "the function of a missing signifier: ( 1)" (p. 307). "The shift of ( /) (lowercase phi) as phallic image from one side to the other of the equation between the imaginary and the symbolic renders it positive in any case, even if it fills a lack. Although it props up ( 1) it becomes F (capital phi) there, the symbolic phallus that cannot be negated, the signifier of jouissance" (p. 308). The castration complex is "incited" by the object ( /) that designates it in its imaginary function.

The Lacanian revolution corresponds to a complete separation of dialectic from intersubjectivity, the very kernel of Freudian thought. This dialectic is expressed in the schema RSI, which represents the real, the symbolic, and the imaginary. Castration is inscribed therein as related to frustration and deprivation, as Lacan showed in his seminar on object relations (Lacan, 1956-57).


See Also

References

  1. Lacan, Jacques. (1994). Le séminaire-livre IV, (1956-57), La relation d'objet. Paris: Le Seuil.
  2. ——. (2002).Écrits: A selection. (Bruce Fink, Trans.) New York: W. W. Norton.