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New Reflections on the Theory of Power: A Lacanian Perspective

Newman, Saul. 2004. New Reflections on the Theory of Power: A Lacanian Perspective. Contemporary Political Theory, 3(2), pp. 148-167. ISSN 1470-8914 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The aim of this paper is to explore, through key Lacanian psychoanalytic concepts, the theoretical dimensions of a post-Foucauldian understanding of power. It is argued that while Foucault's treatment of power freed it from its foundations in sovereignty and essentialist subjectivity, it nevertheless lacked a specific psychic dimension that would explain the mechanism by which we become subjects — that is, how we become both attached to our own subjection and, at various times, resist it. It is here that Lacan's theory of subjectivity vis-à-vis the lack in the Symbolic Order is relevant. I suggest that the Lacanian Real — as the name given to this lack — allows us to arrive at a more coherent theory of power, as well as explain its fundamental instability. It also allows us to extend the analysis of power — through categories such as fantasy and jouissance — to its symbolic and ideological dimensions, as well as account for contemporary forms of resistance to power.

Item Type:

Article

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.cpt.9300105

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Politics

Dates:

DateEvent
2004Published

Item ID:

12609

Date Deposited:

11 Aug 2015 13:31

Last Modified:

30 Jun 2017 12:21

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/12609

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