Psychoanalysis and Culture After Lacan

This seminar asks and grapples with the question of what part, if any, Lacanian psychoanalysis can play in inducing societal transformation at this most crucial moment in the inextricably intertwined histories of humanity and of the Earth. Although it has been claimed that psychoanalysis is only applicable to the individual, we will push toward a conceptualization of the act of the analyst in constraining “true societal speech”?

Scientists tell us that we have only a decade or so to implement changes sufficient to prevent planetary collapse by the end of this century. We face excessive human population growth, hatred and blame in many manifestations across society, violent inequalities, little ability to speak with and listen to one another across ideological divides, and a manifold set of environmental forms of destruction.

What is the influence of hegemonic societal structures and institutions in the direction of public discourse? What place is played by jouissance here, and the refusal versus the traversal of castration? Contemporary society has little vision of limits and of an aesthetically rich life delimited by a navigation of the void, of lack in being and lack in the Other. A deadly and compulsive, societal repetition of consumption of the lure determines the desires that drive our dominant ideologies. What would be needed to substantively and substantially move society toward a serenity guided by the “secret that there is no secret,” that “absence is the abiding presence” (Adler, a founding text of LSP)?

This seminar will be highly interactive. All participants will be expected to engage and speak actively and proactively. In addition to a rigorous attention to theory, we will speak directly of experiences that bring to life both our theoretical elaborations and aspects of a Lacanian psychoanalytically grounded praxis of societal transformation.

Readings will include:
Lacan’s “Kant avec Sade,” in Écrits
Lacan’s Seminar XX, Encore, selected portions to be determined.
Lacan’s Seminar XV, The Psychoanalytic Act, selected readings to be determined.
Lacan’s The Triumph of Religion: Preceded by Discourse to Catholics
Raul Moncayo’s “Postmodern Theory and Culture and Lacanian Psychoanalysis” in The Emptiness of Oedipus: Identification and Non-Identification in Lacanian Psychoanalysis
Jacques Lacan: Between Psychoanalysis and Politics, edited by Samo Tomšic and Andreja Zevnik (2016), specifically the “Introduction” by the co-editors and “Kant avec Sade: Ethics entrapped in perversions of law and politics,” by Andreja Zevnik
Perhaps a reading of two of the instructor’s published articles

Faculty: Joseph Scalia III, Psya.D.
Date and Time: TBD, but monthly meetings, an hour and a half each, to run throughout the 2020-2021 academic year.
Location: Videoconference
Contact: Joseph Scalia III at