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Tracking the Lacanian unconscious in language

Hook, Derek (2013) Tracking the Lacanian unconscious in language. Psychodynamic Practice 19 (1), pp. 38-54. ISSN 1475-3634.

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This paper makes two contributions to the emerging field of Lacanian Discourse Analysis (LDA), one by way of theoretical exposition, a second oriented toward the challenges of empirical analysis. In the first section of the paper I illustrate and develop upon the elusive Lacanian notion of the unconscious structured as a language. This discussion yields a series of important ideas: the assertion that a matrix of latent significations shadows any utterance; the distinction between statement/enunciation; and the concept of repression-in-language. These concepts provide a platform for the second section of the paper which draws on textual material collected by the Apartheid Archive Project (AAP) in order to demonstrate a particular procedure of LDA. This procedure entails an attention to discontinuous narrative components and the role of symbolic juxtapositions. It points, furthermore, to the value of making novel combinations of given textual elements as a way of querying what may be repressed in the text. Two important conclusions are drawn from this discussion, each of which indicates a priority for Lacanian practice. Firstly, the idea that the ongoing work of symbolic juxtaposition may be more profitable than ‘depth’ interpretations in conducting analysis. Secondly, that facilitation of lateral significations and associated significations should take priority over the aim of extracting a single over-arching message.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Discourse analysis, Lacan, repression, unconscious, symbolic juxtaposition
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Psychosocial Studies
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2012 10:31
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2016 11:58

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