Laclau with Lacan on <i>Jouissance</i>: Negotiating the Affective Limits of Discourse

Yannis Stavrakakis

in The Lacanian Left

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2007 | ISBN: 9780748619801
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748672073 | DOI:
Laclau with Lacan on Jouissance: Negotiating the Affective Limits of Discourse

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Moving from the periphery to the core of the Lacanian Left, thesecond chapter discusses the work of a theorist who has elevatedthe Lacanian conceptualisation of negativity into one of the mostcrucial dimensions of his multifaceted work. Laclau and Mouffe'spublications, and even more so Ernesto Laclau's solo work – whichis the main focus here – explicitly refer to a range of Lacanian termsof art and are extremely suggestive of many conceptual affinities even where there is no direct terminological cross-over. While acknowledging the insightful nature of these structural homologies, the second chapter probes the limits of such theoretical congruence. Lacan's category of the real functions as the central probingtool here; its specific modality of jouissance offers a productive wayof spurring on the dialogue between and among scholars inspired by Lacan and Laclau. The basic hypothesis is that, although discourse theory does take on board and develops further the Lacanian conceptions of negativity, lack and signification and their political implications – exactly what is missing from Castoriadis' work (ch. 1) – it has not adequately tackled the Lacanian problematic of enjoyment, a problematic crucial in understanding the libidinal/visceral underside of identification processes.

Keywords: Laclau; Mouffe; Discourse; Affect; Hegemony; Freud; Symbolic; Negativity; Positivity

Chapter.  18203 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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