Subject, enjoyment, hegemony
a discussion of Ernesto Laclau's interpretation of empty signifiers and the real as impossible in lacanian psychoanalysis
Ernesto Laclau’s theory of hegemony interprets in a peculiar way two central concepts of Lacanian psychoanalysis: the signifier and the real. Laclau maintains that signifiers are per se tendentially empty and that there is some constituting impossibility in every social system, that is, some real in the Lacanian sense. This paper levels two criticisms at this interpretation. Firstly, Lacan never employs the concept “empty signifier”: His definition of the signifier as that which represents a subject—and his enjoyment—for another signifier contradicts this emptiness. Secondly, in the place of the impossible, Lacan puts enjoyment. The main political consequence of these two considerations is that the theory of hegemony is mistaken when focusing on the rhetorical debate and forgets that individual political inclinations are based mainly on their enjoyment.
Conde Soto, F. (2020). Subject, enjoyment, hegemony: a discussion of Ernesto Laclau's interpretation of empty signifiers and the real as impossible in lacanian psychoanalysis. Continental Philosophy Review 53 (2), pp. 197-208.
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