Lacanian psychoanalysis

The details
Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Thursday 03 October 2019
Saturday 14 December 2019
12 September 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA C890 Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies,
BA C89A Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies (Including Placement Year),
BA C89B Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies (Including Year Abroad),
BA C89C Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies (Including Foundation Year)

Module description

This module provides an introduction to the theory developed by the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan.

In his 'retour à Freud' during the 1950s, Lacan interpreted the Freudian concepts through the framework of Structuralism. He made links between psychoanalysis and other sciences such as linguistics, anthropology, literature and philosophy. Due to his innovative and interdisciplinary approach, his corpus of writings and seminars has a far-reaching and still growing influence on diverse fields such as mental health, psychology, political theory, philosophy, film theory, and literary criticism.

In this module, we focus on the Lacanian anthropology (what it is to be human) and the implications of his theory for how we can think about social relations. According to Lacan, the process in which an infant evolves into a human being cannot be described as an internal, mental development with a number of delineated phases. Rather, subjectivity emerges within a particular structure consisting in other people, language and law. The structure precedes the subject and determines the subject.

What we consider to be our most intimate features, such as self-image, unconscious, desire and phantasy, are in fact constituted by something outside and beyond ourselves. We will investigate how Lacan reformulated the theory of the Oedipus complex by bringing to the fore the central role of the desire of the (m) other rather than the incestuous desire of the child. The resolution of the Oedipus complex is determined by the way the subject deals with the Other's desire.

Throughout these ten seminar weeks, we will develop the three registers of human existence: the Imaginary, Symbolic and Real order. In the final seminars, we will discuss the implications of these Lacanian concepts for the theory on social and sexual relations.

Module aims

The aims of the module are:
* To provide an introduction to the psychoanalytic theory of Lacan
* To describe the Lacanian theory on the emergence of the subject
* To demonstrate the implications of Lacanian psychoanalysis for our understanding of social relations in general and sexual relations in particular

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module students should be able to:
* Explain the difference between the Imaginary, Symbolic and Real dimensions of human experience
* Analyse the notion of subjectivity from a Structuralist point of view
* Compare the registers of need, demand and desire in human interactions
* Apply the Lacanian concepts of signifier, other, Other, and desire to the Freudian phenomena of 'slip', dream and symptom
* Understand the importance of the lacking object for subjectivity
* Apply Lacan's discourse theory to social relations
* Discuss the difference between the sexes from a Lacanian point of view
* Engage in a close reading of Lacan's work

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

Weekly one-hour lectures by staff, followed by one-hour seminars led by GTA's. Students are invited to prepare seminars in cartels. The cartels function according to the principles stipulated in Parker I. (2005). Cartels in lacanian psychoanalysis.


  • Sean Homer. (2005) 'Why Lacan?', in Jacques Lacan, London: Routledge., pp.1-15
  • Lacan, Jacques; Forrester, John. (1991) Ego in Freud's Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis, 1954-1955: WW Norton & Co. vol. Book 2 of 'The seminar of Jacques Lacan'
  • Minsky, Rosalind. (1996) Psychoanalysis and gender: an introductory reader, London: Routledge.
  • Bruce Fink. (1995) 'The Lacanian subject', in The Lacanian subject, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press., pp.49-68
  • Bruce Fink. (2006) 'The signification of the phallus', in Écrits: the first complete edition in English, New York, NY: W.W. Norton., pp.581-582
  • Lacan dot com - Chronology,
  • Cartels in Lacanian psychoanalysis,
  • Freud, Sigmund. (1953-1974) 'The interpretation of dreams', in The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud, London: Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psycho-Analysis. vol. Standard edition volume 4, pp.146-151
  • Sigmund Freud; James Strachey. (1953-1974) The Psychopathology of Everyday Life: Forgetting, Slips of the Tongue, Bungled Actions, Superstitions and Errors (1901), London: Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psycho-Analysis.
  • Sean Homer. (2005) 'The Imaginary', in Jacques Lacan, London: Routledge., pp.17-32
  • Sean Homer. (2005) 'The Subject of the Unconscious', in Jacques Lacan, London: Routledge., pp.65-70
  • SEXUAL DIFFERENCE | Jacques Lacan | Taylor & Francis Group,
  • Bruce Fink. (2006) 'The function and field of speech and language in psychoanalysis', in Écrits: the first complete edition in English, New York, NY: W.W. Norton., pp.214-215
  • Bruce Fink. (2006) 'The instance of the letter in the unconscious', in Écrits: the first complete edition in English, New York, NY: W.W. Norton., pp.414-417
  • Bruce Fink. (2006) 'The mirror stage as formative of the I function', in Ecrits: the first complete edition in English, New York: W.W. Norton & Co., pp.75-77
  • The Rubber Hand Illusion - Horizon: Is Seeing Believing? - BBC Two,
  • Sean Homer. (2005) 'The Symbolic', in Jacques Lacan, London: Routledge., pp.33-45

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework Participation 5%
Coursework Reading assignment 1 15/10/2019 5%
Coursework Reading assignment 2 22/10/2019 5.00%
Coursework Reading Assignment 3 29/10/2019 5.00%
Coursework Reading Assignment 4 06/11/2019 5%
Coursework Reading Assignment 5 22/11/2019 5%
Coursework Reading Assignment 6 29/11/2019 5%
Coursework Reading Assignment 7 06/12/2019 5%
Coursework Essay 17/01/2020 5%

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Professor Matt ffytche and Dr Julie Walsh
Student Administrator 5A.202; telephone 01206 874969; email



External examiner

Prof Barry Richards
Bournemouth University
Professor of Political Psychology
Available via Moodle
Of 20 hours, 20 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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