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The Voice and the Invocative Drive

Lacan introduced the voice and the gaze as two new objects of the drive, besides the anal, oral and phallic object. In this article the author provides a brief overview of the conceptualisation of the voice and the invocative drive in Lacan’s seminars. This overview permits the characterization of the voice as a tension between sense and nonsense, between speech subjected to the Law on the one hand, and something of the real, the object a as that which should be situated beyond discourse on the other hand. Furthermore, the voice appears to be a special object in that it is not a partial sexual object but rather a subjectifying object. It is the voice of the mother, the mother’s sonata, that “sings a subject into being”. It transmits a certain dimension of the Law, but it also contains its transgression when it abolishes the discontinuities particular to speech. The first period of the invocative drive is the dynamic between the song of the mother and the cry of the child. The second period is that of the real privation of the mother. The Phallus names the mother’s absence in the third period and thus realizes a primordial repression. As a result of this the voice as object is lost between mother and infant. The question of a fourth period of the invocative drive is addressed in the last part of this paper and is related to sublimation on the one hand and the cure on the other.

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