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Well, JOSHI's definition is much  more a Freudian account of castration
threat than Lacanian.
I will try to simplify it as much as posible (but to simplify Lacan and
not to twist the message is virtually impossible).
 
For Lacan, the subjectivity is formed in the infant
on the basis of imaginary identification with his image in the mirror,
which gives the "body-in-pieces" (infants without full control of his
body) an illusion of completeness and control. This moment ("mirror
stage") doesn't yet mark the entry of the infant in the Symbolic order
(the realm of language and the Law). But the mirror stage marks the first
of the subject forming "lacks" - subjectivity, for Lacan, is a
"meccoinassance" of an imaginary control  - a basic misunderstanding and
misperception.
 
To put it differently , Lacan refuses the Carthesian notion of the
subject, described by the infamous phrase "Cogito, ergo sum". Lacan would
probably shift it into "I'm being thought about by the other", or,
 rather "I'm being spoken by somebody else". Because subjectivity
does not exist in its own discourse, but in the discourses of the others.
 
Anyway, the Symbolic enters the scene once linguistic comand is acquired
by the subject. And it's preciselly in the realm of language in which we
can define the Lacanian notion of castration. For Lacan, every subject is
marked by castration in the relation to Master Signifier, the Phallus.
It's
important to distinguish between Phallus (as signifier, as the
basic "sybmol", something that nobody can posses), as opposed to
penis/phallus in Freud, which designates the real organ.
Nobody can posses the Phallus, so we all are castrated, the Phallus is
what we all lack.
 
This is the basic structure. I'm too worn out today to get into any
details, so if you have some more questions (about good books on Lacan,
etc.) feel free to raise them. I'm focusing on Lacan's theory in my
thesis, so I now a little bit about him.
(it's never possible to know enough about Lacan).
 
Petra
 
 
On Fri, 17 Apr 1998, JOSHI wrote:
 
>
> It is the (perceived) threat of castration (by the father) which makes the
> male child
> suppress his desire for the mother till such time when he can find himself
> a female mate. Females thus become objects for exchange among men, and the
> family system is created.
>
> When the male child in the post-oedipal stage begins entry into the
> symbolic order, the process is ensured by a threat of castration ("lack"
> of the phallus). For a good description, read "Key Concepts in Cinema
> Studies" by Susan Hayward (Routledge, London).
>
> On Sat, 18 Apr 1998, Ken Mogg wrote:
>
> > Please, could someone succinctly - yet convincingly - remind me just why
> > Lacan in his psychoanalytical theory emphasised the need for a male
> > person to be 'castrated'?  (You may use terms like Imaginary and
> > Symbolic, of course, but do try to subordinate jargon to
> > intelligibility.  Thank you!)
> >
> > - Ken Mogg (Ed., 'The MacGuffin').
> >
> >
> >      --- from list [log in to unmask] ---
> >
>
>
>
>      --- from list [log in to unmask] ---
>
 
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