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The Unconscious: Ideal worker?

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This article examines some consequences of Lacan's statement that defines the Freudian unconscious as the “ideal worker.” As this statement takes its fundaments from Marxist theory of the relations between capital and work, it becomes necessary to make explicit some Marxian concepts that Lacan seems to mobilise. The unconscious, as Lacan claims, “does not think, nor calculate, nor judge”: the unconscious just “works.” In order to verify the consistence of this thesis, Freud's The interpretation of dreams, and more specifically aspects of what can be called the potential of expression of the dream, is revisited. Condensation, displacement, and consideration of representabilty are the concepts used by Freud in order to explain, in his own words, the “dream work.” Here, I intend to demonstrate the applicability of the concept of work to Freud's metapsychological arguments, and how the unconscious works to adapt the processes of representation and presentation of the desire in molds that are, simultaneously, imagistic and verbal.
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Keywords: alienation; dream work; primary process; representability; sublimation; work

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2012

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