Foucault and Lacan Walk Into A Bar…

Here’s an interesting piece from Global-e:

One day, way back in the 20th century, Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, Claude Lévi-Strauss, and Roland Barthes sat under an equatorial tree, living in their own imagined primitive past, discussing Global Studies. “What,” asked Barthes, “might the four of us contribute to a field that analyzes the world as a global system, stitched together—as Michael Curtin deftly puts it—by trade protocols, governance covenants, and communications networks?” Lévi-Strauss checked his notes, Lacan thought introspectively, and Foucault answered complicatedly. Each spoke of the cultural schemes that inform public policy and that structure debate about contemporary life. Let me summarize their conversation—translated from French.

Read the rest here.

Some Lacan Translations

Jack Stone has translated a number of brief papers by Jacques Lacan and has posted them here. Of some interest are Lacan’s Conferences and Conversations at North American Universities from the mid 70s..

Lots more on Stone’s website.

Ethics of the Lie (New Book)

Jean-Michel Rabate (whose The Future of Theory I quite liked) has written a book call The Ethics of the Lie, a particularly apt release since the U.S. presidential elections are in full swing.  Here’s a not so complementary review from Bookforum, but it certainly looks like good subway/bathroom reading:



Click for more info.

Jean-Michel Rabaté, Vartan Gregorian Professor in the Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania, bookends The Ethics of the Lie with Jacques Lacan, the French psychiatrist who connected the anxieties of poststructuralism to those of psychoanalysis. At the beginning, we have the proposition, apropos Monica Lewinsky, that Bill Clinton may have been “the world’s first Lacanian president” because, as Lacan saw it, “there is no such thing as a sexual relationship” (and as Clinton tried to explain to a mortified nation, oral sex should be thought of as an aperitif rather than an entrée). At the end, and apropos Pinocchio’s nose, we are told that from a Lacanian point of view, “the lie always keeps something of the structure of the phallus, because the phallus is always like a joke, partakes [sic] of its mythical origins with the ludicrously inflated prosthesis carried on the stage in Aristophanes’ theater.
”One might venture that phallic jokes depend on who’s getting screwed and by whom, and that for women, the punch line isn’t always metaphoric or funny. Nevertheless, if there is a moment of comic relief in Rabaté’s investigation into America’s “obsession” with lying, it is in the image of Clinton as a red-faced Pinocchio, freed from guilt by Lacan only to find himself and the country cast in one big dick joke. Whether you think this kind of reading deft or daft will largely depend on where you stand regarding the literary/philosophical, Continental/Anglo-American divide. For contemporary literary investigation, Lacan is crucial; but for mainstream American philosophy of an analytic cast, he is irrelevant, the argumentative equivalent of a bridge to nowhere. The objections are: Lacan trades in concepts that are either unfalsifiable or nonsensical, and he robs the sciences willy-nilly, squandering his plunder on hermetic cock and bull. Continue reading