The plague: Freud, Lacan & the crisis of critique

During its long history, psychoanalytical theory has developed a criticism dealing with almost the entire domain of human culture and civilization. That theory lays bare the unconscious motives and structures which, on the conscious level, can have all kinds of pernicious effects. The weak point of that criticism, however, consists in its awareness that the unconscious motives and structures it brings to consciousness, after its critical analysis, will remain unconscious and repressed. In that sense, psychoanalytical theory performs a critique of criticism as such. Unmasking falsity and lies does not necessarily result in establishing truth.

This essay outlines the contours of such a psychoanalytical ‘critique of criticism as such’, as well as its implications for contemporary critical thought in general. The essay more precisely focuses on the right-wing cultural criticism, which makes use of criticism’s newly discovered ‘tragic condition’ in order to support a conservative ethical, cultural and political programme. This essay proposes a few points of reference replying to these tendencies in contemporary critical thought.

The Treatment of the Signifier for Children with Autism

The recent term of Disorder of the autismspectrum makes clear that nowadays autism becomes more and more an all-embracing, even empty diagnosis. Beyond this problematic labeling, Psychoanalysis deals with the symptom of the subject as a particular solution for the problem of the desire and the enjoyment of the Other. The symptom of the child can be considered within the structural opposition formulated by Lacan: the symptom as a representation versus a realisation of the truth of the parents. In a case of a ten year old boy with autism a symptom is analyzed in terms of a pure materialisation of the object a. The psychoanalytic intervention, based on the technique of bricolage, attempt to make tolerable and accessible the pure signifier, full of enjoyment of the Other, for the subject.