Contemporary Subjectivity: A Psychoanalytical Analysis of Postmodernity and its Symptoms

In this article the author explores the possibility of a structural link between several cultural changes in contemporary society, better known as the very idea of a postmodern culture, and a significant change in clinical practice. Since the crisis of 1968, which was in essence a revolt against paternal authority, and since Lyotard wrote his La condition postmoderne (Lyotard, 1979) it is incontestable that western culture has been marked by a structural shift. As post-political, liberal subjects we are perceived as being free, detached from the obstacles of our primal identifications with our parents, country or socio-economic class. Nowadays, we are free-floating subjects in a decentralised universe trying to transgress the symbolic law and to achieve the ultimate object of desire. But it is quite paradoxical that this extreme liberalism finds its counterpart in both the explosive violence of the real and the massive pressure of the imaginary order. The main aim of this article is a psychoanalytical exploration of a possible structural connection between those two orders.