Chapter

Human Diversity and the Sexual Relation

Charles Shepherdson

in Lacan and the Limits of Language

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780823227662
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235353 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fso/9780823227662.003.0006
Human Diversity and the Sexual             Relation

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The concept of “race” has received considerable attention in recent years, both as a theoretical category and in its historical development. In both respects, difficulties arise that may lead to some surprising connections between race and psychoanalysis. On the conceptual axis, we must ask whether race is a biological or a cultural category, while on the historical axis, we must consider the very formation of this alternative — the specific configuration it has assumed in modernity, and also the relation between this alternative and the emergence of Freudian theory, which breaks with the inherited division between nature and history. Any comprehensive thesis on “psychoanalysis and race” must bear on both these difficulties at once. This chapter suggests that the concept of race as it functions today can no longer be grasped in terms of the distinction between nature and culture, and that it is precisely because psychoanalysis refuses this distinction that it may cast light on our physical diversity without perpetuating sterile debates between biological science and historicist theories of discursive construction.

Keywords: Jacques Lacan; race; psychoanalysis; Freudian theory; nature; history; culture

Chapter.  11808 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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