Psychoanalytic theory
in Socio-ideological fantasy and the Northern Ireland conflict
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According to Anthony Elliott, psychoanalysis ‘powerfully accounts for the...essential and primary foundations of all human social activity’, namely representation, fantasy, identification and pleasure. It ‘highlights the fantasmatic dimension of cultural practices, social institutions, political norms’. For this reason, Elliott is correct in his contention that one must consider the place of the psyche in our understanding of human subjectivity if one is to bring about social and political transformation. For Elliott, the social world will never be the same again after reading Jacques Lacan because ‘his theories capture something of the strangeness that pervades the mundane and familiar in daily life’. It would be hard to argue that Lacanian psychoanalysis has little to say about socio-ideological fantasy, the denial which it involves, and the conflict it gives rise to. This chapter discusses Lacanian psychoanalysis; Lacan's Imaginary order, Symbolic order, and the Real order; the unconscious; rationalisation, socio-ideological fantasy and jouissance; jouissance and aggression; and the constitution of the ego and subjectivity.

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