Thursday, June 7, 2012

Lacanian Terminology – Central Concepts in Lacan's Theory

Jacques Lacan is one of the most influential figures not only in psychoanalysis in the past century but also in the world of cultural and literary theory and cultural studies. Lacan's theory brought about a new perception and practices in psychotherapy, but also in cultural analysis and the way we understand society (one of the most remarkable applications of Lacan's theory to the social field is Louis Althusser's "On Ideology")
Lacan's writing is notorious for its illusiveness and complexity. One of the difficulties in reading and understanding Lacan is his heavy reliance on outer references but also on his own unique theoretical vocabulary.    

Lacan's psychoanalytic theory is rich with unique terminology coined by him or borrowed and adapted from other thinkers such as Freud and Jung. Understanding these concepts used in his writing and lectures is crucial for properly understanding Lacan's complicated ideas and theory regarding the human psyche. Here you will find some definitions and explanations of some of Lacan's most central concepts and theoretical terms:

lacanian Terminology
The three orders:
Other concepts:
The mirror stage (related to the imaginary order)
Primary and Secondary Identification (related to the Oedipus Complex)
Ideal I
Oedipus Complex
Ideal Self
signification of the Phallus 
Signifying Chain (Chain of Signifiers)
Savoir and Connaissance or Meconnaissance

additional concepts and definitions are coming up...

Lacan's concepts and terminology are often very illusive and complex. Often times than not while reading Lacan it is hard to make out the exact denotation of the various concepts employed by him. The best way to understand Lacan and his terminology is only through extensive reading of his writing with the aid of secondary and commentary literature. 

Some additional books to help you better your understanding of Lacan's theory and terminology: