Psychoanalysis & Cultural Studies

Jacques-Alain Miller says in The Experience of the Real in Psychoanalysis:

The waning [of transference] becomes manifest among the advocates of cultural studies, whose interest in decoding Lacan remains purely intellectual, that is to say, disjointed from the analytical experience. They talk psychoanalysis, yet for them psychoanalysis is confined to the reading and deciphering of whatever they have of Lacan’s enunciation. The notion that this enunciation is supported, inspired and warranted by an actual experience, by what is for each one their inception into analysis is completely foreign to them.

I sometimes worry that people think they can get an experience of psychoanalysis purely by reading psychoanalytic texts, thinking about them deeply, writing about them, and discussing them with other smart people...

I find the text quoted above to be noteworthy because there is a significant interest in Lacan's work in many disciplines that are not clinically based, what Miller here terms "cultural studies" (e.g., film studies, English, history, philosophy, other liberal arts). The people in these disciplines often produce work that I find interesting and useful. I'm very happy people are doing this, and I hope they keep doing it.

However, their work is in no way a substitute for the experience of presenting one's speaking body to an analyst and asking for an experience of psychoanalysis.

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