Institut for Kunst- og Kulturvidenskab: SCIENCE OF THE SIGNIFIER. ANALYZING THE CULTURAL UNCONSCIOUS
”¢ Juliet Flower MacCannell
”¢ Mladen Dolar
”¢ Renata Salecl
”¢ Kari Jegerstedt
During the last decades psychoanalysis has gained in influence within cultural studies and sociology. The thinking of Freud and Lacan, and their analytical practice, has been reread, reclaimed, and reenacted, notably by the neo-Lacanian so called “Slovenian” school.
But what are we actually doing when we are transferring the psychoanalytical practice from the clinic to the analysis of society, art, and culture? What kind of knowledge does applied psychoanalysis produce? What kind of object does it produce? How does it do it? By which concepts and formalizations, and what status do these concepts and formalizations have? How is it possible to move from the singular experience on the couch to universal functions and structures to be detected in culture and society?
To take psychoanalysis from the clinical practice into the analysis of culture and society was an ambition already with Freud and has been practiced in sociology and the humanities ever since. In academic psychology, as the discipline has directed itself still more towards positivism and natural science, psychoanalysis is often viewed as a historical stage that we have surpassed and left behind. How come, then, that it keeps insisting and producing analysis in sociological and cultural studies? Has the Slovenian re-reading of Lacan opened up new potentials in psychoanalysis to teach us about not only the subject on the couch, but also art works and cultural and social phenomena?
When it comes to the analyses of art works, the neo-Lacanian analyses have a tendency to focus more on plot, themes, and characters than on aesthetic form. How could psychoanalysis applied to art works become more sensitive to aesthetic form?
With this conference we wish to create a space for the discussion of the methods and problems of the neo-Lacanian revival of applied psychoanalysis. As keywords to the talks and papers we propose four topics:
”¢ The social Unconscious
”¢ From desire to drive