With a Foreword by Richard J. Bernstein and an Afterword by John Durham Peters
13 Jacques Lacan: Psychoanalysis With(in) Communication CHRISTIAN LUNDBERG 325
13 Jacques Lacan Psychoanalysis With(in) Communication CHRISTIAN LUNDBERG ________________________________________ “In the present state of affairs,” announced Jacques Lacan, it is “touch and go whether the entire theory of what goes on in living beings will be revised as a function of communication.”1 It is difficult to know whether this is typical Lacanian hyperbole or a prediction proffered with the utmost sincerity: Communication looms large in the work of the French psychoanalyst. Both an object of scathing critique and a resource for reframing Freudian psychoanalysis in the context of the linguistic turn, communication constitutes one of the critical touchstones of the Lacanian project. Engaging this touchstone, Lacan rejected or reframed a number of elements of classical communication theory, which many communication theorists also came to reconsider: the sender-receiver model, communication as transmission, and a focus on meaning as the privileged locus of communicative exchange, to name a few. Perhaps Lacan’s ambivalence toward communication stems from the fact that despite his marked dissatisfaction with contemporary theories of communication, crucial concepts in the Lacanian canon could only be fully articulated with the help of a model of communicative exchange that attends to the function of the exchange of signifier and signified, tropes, speech, and the circulation of each of these elements in discourse. Lacan’s ambivalence regarding communication bears important fruits for a theory of communication. The Lacanian revision of communication theory proffers a model for thinking not only about the failure of communication conceived of as transmission between a sender and receiver,...
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