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Jouissance – ‘right off the scale': Lacan, Sexual Difference and the Phallic Order

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This essay explores Lacan's analysis of sexual difference within the phallic economy as a case study in intellectual history, interpreting Lacan's work in this area as a major theoretical achievement accomplished by three critical innovations: first, Lacan radicalises two central streams of twentieth‐century thought – psychoanalysis and structuralism; second, he recontextualises these within a similarly radicalised version of Hegelianism; finally, Lacan completes this reconceptualisation by contributing a set of key notions of his own that, together with the other elements, form the organising principles around which his theory operates. It defends Lacan from charges of phallocentrism and also shows that, while Lacan is aligned closely with structuralism, his theory derives much of its dynamism from the neo‐Hegelianism of Alexandre Koj√®ve and other sources.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-04-01

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