how to give lacan the boot

[it really starts to get good at the 6 minute mark…]

Transversality was to replace transferrence. Why the replacement? Transference works by provoking change through coerced dialogue between analyst-patient. The patient, one-on-one, stuck in a room with nothing but the psychiatric gaze and the ambience of the room, has few options outside the give-and-take channeled through “the talking cure.” Compelled speech generates content that the analyst uses to place the patient on a psychoanalytic grid that charts out various structural positions. Is the patient a hysteric? Then the analyst must evacuate the position of the Big Other. The bottom line: the analyst is to induce the patient into clarifying their Subject position so a diagnosis and adequate counter-reaction be applied. The trouble is that this only works for neurotics – meaning slips for psychotics, preventing the analyst who holds meaning to get any traction. Continue reading “how to give lacan the boot”


Leading By Example, or, the power of a good example

Brian Massumi suggests in the introduction to his 2002 book “Parables For The Virtual” that the most Bergsonian form of argumentation follows from an “exemplary method,” by which he means supporting an argument through an example. There are three major arguments, which, while not stated explicitly, forms the subterranean structure by which Massumi makes his case for the example: singularity, detail, and connectability.

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Lazzarato’s Virtual Communism

Lazzarato is able to distinguish his approach from traditional historical materialism with a few key reversals. The first is an elaboration on an argument he shares with Read: production is ‘greater’ than reproduction, which is just a translation of D&G’s claim that the virtual is richer than the actual. But rather than remaining within the capitalist mode of production, which treats it as a de facto totality, Lazzarato uses Tarde to make a move that detaches his analysis from capitalist production almost completely:

invention, as the creation of the possible and its process of actualisation in the souls (of consumers as well as workers), is the real production, whilst what Marx and the economists call production is, in reality, a reproduction (or a manufacture of a product or a management of a service even if in this case the things are a bit more complicated). (CLCL: 192)

In place of the totality of the mode of production, Lazzarato posit an original dynamic multiplicity. It is from that multiplicity that everything is constructed. Lazzarato then fully integrates a Foucaultian analysis within this metaphysics of the multiple.

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Crisis of Sovereignty

Jean Camaroff: the sources of sovereignty have become radically destabilized—whether we are talking about the power that underwrites currencies of value, or the conditions that stabilize the meaning of language; whether we’re talking about the authority that enables law enforcement (effective police forces, for instance) and the keeping of order in a specific territory—whatever we have assumed underlies such authority in its modern form has become radically ambiguous. The tangible source of supreme authority vested in the democratic state and all that it implied—whether this was Fort Knox and the Bretton Woods System, or the monopoly over the means of violence and the means of death—all have been undermined in their orthodox modern form. Hence the reaching for more clear, seemingly certain sovereigns, theologies, divinities.

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Lines in the Sand

Replacing power/knowledge, I suggest the tripartite lines of rigid-supple-escape developed by Deleuze and Guattari in A Thousand Plateaus.  In their anti-essentialist ontology, Deleuze and Guattari posit that heterogeneous collections of elements come together in particular relations to form assemblages, contingent formations that produce certain effects.  Capitalism, for instance, is an assemblage.  One way to describe how assemblages are organized is by the lines that compose them.  For Deleuze and Guattari, there are three types of organizing lines: supple lines, rigid lines, and lines of flight.  Continue reading “Lines in the Sand”

Power: Breaking the Liberal Domination-Resistance Paradigm

Theories of power previous to Foucault were largely based in terms of sovereign or juridical power – roughly equivalent to the dynastic power of the monarch and the legal power of the social contract.  The sovereign view of power imagines power as an original right held by the king to which the subject responds.  As the state form emerged, power arrangements were recast according to a social contract that posits citizen-subjects that are afforded a minor autonomy that both limits and authorizes the power of government.  While most political and social theory is stuck within these two types of power, Foucault emphasized two forms of power that he argues have displaced the importance of sovereign and juridical power: disciplinary power and biopower.  Continue reading “Power: Breaking the Liberal Domination-Resistance Paradigm”


But what is it that I am referring to when I say “desire”? In a few words, I refer to three processes. First: the impulse of attraction, which draws us towards certain universes, and the impulse of repulsion, which pushes us away from others without us knowing exactly why, blindly guided by the affects that each of these encounters generates in our body. Second: the forms of expression that we create in order to bring into the visible and utterable the sensible states that such connections and disconnections progressively produce in our subjectivity. Third: the metamorphoses of ourselves and of our territories of existence, which are fabricated in this process.

–Suely Rolnik, “Deleuze, Schizoanalyst”