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Lacan: A Beginner's Guide [Format Kindle]

Lionel Bailly
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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Jacques Lacan was one of the most important psychoanalysts ever to have lived. Building upon the work of Sigmund Freud, he sought to refine Freudian insights with the use of linguistics, arguing that “the structure of unconscious is like a language”. Controversial throughout his lifetime both for adopting mathematical concepts in his psychoanalytic framework and for advocating therapy sessions of varying length, he is widely misunderstood and often unfairly dismissed as impenetrable. In this clear, wide-ranging primer, Lionel Bailly demonstrates how Lacan’s ideas are still vitally relevant to contemporary issues of mental health treatment. Defending Lacan from his numerous detractors, past and present, Bailly guides the reader through Lacan’s canon, from “l'objet petit a” to “The Mirror Stage” and beyond. Including coverage of developments in Lacanian psychoanalysis since his death, this is the perfect introduction to the great modern theorist.

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2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Lacan pour commencer 5 août 2012
Par Joseph
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Vous avez reculé après une lecture de quelques pages des Ecrits. Pourtant vous avez eu le temps de sentir que Lacan est quelqu'un avec qui il faut compter. Vous vous posez la question de comment l'aborder. Ce livre est pour vous.

Même si vous ne parlez pas l'anglais parfaitement, ne vous formaliser pas à cause de la langue; le peu de temps que vous allez perdre à consulter le dictionnaire sera vite regagné. Vous comprendrez la structure de l'inconscient et sa relation au langage, l'articulation des domaines de vie (illustrée par les fameux tores borroméens) et la place du Réel, le problème du désir et de son objet, la question du genre (homme / femme)...

Selon moi Lacan est plutôt un philosophe, peut être le philosophe du 21 ème siècle (pour paraphraser ce que disait Foucault de son copain Deleuze). En tout cas, on est très loin de la psychologie opérationnelle.

Le livre est une introduction parfaite à l'oeuvre de Lacan. Il dispose d'un index comme quasiment tous les essais anglo-saxons (je mentionne ce détail car les éditeurs d'essais français n'ont pas encore compris à quoi servait un index). Après cette lecture vous pourrez approfondir des éléments dans des ouvrages plus spécialisés ou même vous (re)plonger dans les Ecrits si vous en avez le loisir ou si vous êtes du métier.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 étoiles sur 5  15 commentaires
27 internautes sur 28 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A must for any 7 juillet 2009
Par Marie Helene Verney - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
This is a great, clear introduction to one of the major thinkers of the 20th century. It's the only book on Lacan I have come across written for the lay person in a genuine attempt to enlighten the public, and not for the sake of impressing other Lacanians or philosophers.

Lacan: a Beginners' Guide explains all the basic Lacanian concepts - the Mirror Stage, the Other, the Paternal Metaphor, Master Signifiers etc - in ways that really enrich one's understanding of the human psyche, while the historical section really helps understand the rifts and currents in the psychological sciences.

The use of clinical examples all the way through is particularly helpful and make the reading as fascinating as any good novel. A must for any layperson trying to understand the work of a major philosopher and pyschoanalyst.
23 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Explaining versus Curing 18 octobre 2009
Par D. P. Birkett - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
This is more understandable than the "Ecrits" (translated by Bruce Fink) although that's not saying a lot. The descriptions of the feuds among the French analysts, and battles with the Anglo-Americans, are entertaining, and (perhaps unintentionally) comic.
You might want to read the last chapter first, if you're in the shrink business. It gives an idea of where Lacanian analysis stands today. Among other things Bailly admits that Lacanians are not interested in curing patients, which might lead you to not read the rest of the book. Actually this idea of explaining rather than curing is not as outrageous as it sounds. In other areas of medical practice patients seek a diagnosis and explanation and then sometimes decide to live with their symptoms.
The description of Lacan's practice is reasonable. Bailly denies some of the stories about such things as having his hair cut during sessions. Even though the individual sessions were sometimes short the total time of analysis was as long as for orthodox analysis.
The rest of the book is a pretty hard read. I think you need some background in analytic theory to understand it. The stuff about semiotics and structuralism is also difficult to understand if you haven't studied it elsewhere. Lacan had his own ideas about the formation of the ego, but novel ideas about ego formation have been a favorite of analytic theorists. In general he had more respect for the unconscious than had Freud, who basically wanted to civilize the dark places of the id and superego. Lacan believed the thought processes going on in the subconscious had their own kind of logic which was valid in its own way. His attempts to formulate the rules of this kind of logic became unintelligible (to me at least).
The glossary is helpful.
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A Great Opener 23 octobre 2012
Par Tor S. Thidesen - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I really recommend this book. Lacan is, as most reviewers have noted, notoriously difficult, and this was not my first attempt at 'getting Lacan'. I started out with Fink's Lacanian Subject. I understood maybe 70% of the Lacanian Subject, but realized I needed something more basic.
I don't think I would have gotten so much out of this book either, if I hadn't read the Lacanian Subject and various other texts about Lacan first. So, a word of warning: Do some basic reading before hand. Flick throuhgh the other books, or buy them all and cross-reference.
I also recommend 'An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis' as a reference tool.

If you want to know about Lacan start with this book and Fink's The Lacanian Subject, and after a few confusing days, you will understand the fundamentals of Lacan.
Then you can get into the hard stuff.

Zizek brought me here. "lol"
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Psychoanalysis Lives On In The Humanities 5 août 2014
Par not a natural - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
In spite of the fact that Lionel Bailly's book Lacan is subtitled A Beginner's Guide, I had to read much of it twice and some sections three or four times before I understood it well enough to write a review. I suppose this is to be expected given Lacan's reputation as an author who wrote little, and when he did put pen to paper, most notably in Ecrits, many readers found him inaccessible. This is consistent with the difficulty I had with the brief quotations from Lacan's theoretical work that are used sparingly throughout Bailly's book. I'm greatful to Baillly for following the quotations with "In other words ..." interpretations that are quite readable and contributed to dispelling my mystification and confusion.

In fairness to Lacan, a good part of the difficulty that readers have with his material reflects the fact that it is genuinely novel. In addition, almost all of it is substantively demanding, dealing with issues that, by their very nature, are hard to grasp. Given the character of Lacan's thinking, moreover, it is rarely enough to have mastered a small subset of his concepts to understand what he is about, because genuine understanding of one concept and its application presupposes understanding of most or even all of the others.

As an example, I found the concept Sinthome especially interesting because it calls our attention to Lacan's judgment that a troublesome neurotic symptom that one wishes to get rid of may very well be an integral part of the person's personality structure. Removal of the symptom, as a result, may have unanticipated and even undesirable consequences. Once stated, this seems plausible enough, especially when viewed within the context of the Lacanian understanding of the interlocking and layered elements that constitute the psyche. However, it takes a good deal of hard thinking to understand the other three elements that constitute the psyche, The Real, The Symbolic, and The Imaginary, as Lacan defines these terms.

One may fault Lacan for giving new meanings to commonplace words thereby generating needless confusion, but what was his alternative. I'm not especially fond of neologisms. Too many contemporary authors whose work may be of interest to students of philosophy, cultural studies, and literary theory seem to delight in needless recourse to neologisms when conventional language, suitably defined or redefined, would do just as well or better. Besides, in context, The Real, The Symbolic, and The Imaginary are probably as good as anyone could do in coming up with names that very roughly suggest the meaning of these three distinct but overlapping psychic realms.

To his credit, moreover, Lacan does introduce some of his new ideas using conventional psychoanalytic terminology. Lacan uses The Unconscious in a way that is not entirely different from Freud, but he gives the idea an interesting linguistic interpretation. Specifically, borrowing from Ferdinand Sausurre's influential structural linguistics, Lacan construes The Unconscious as inherently language-based, consisting of chains of signifiers, namely symbols, sounds, and images used to represent ideas. The signifiers, moreover, are malleable or slippery, another way of saying that their meaning varies with the symbolic context in which they occur, often taking the form of metaphors. The Unconscious has a dialectical relationship with The Conscious and The Pre-Conscious in that the symbols and ideas may emerge or be repressed as needed, in response to provocative stimuli, or in dream work.

As we see, one of the distinctive aspects of Lacan's approach to psychoanalysis was his willingness to borrow ideas from a broad range of disciplines. Lacan's indebtedness to Hegel's Phenomenology of Mind, for example, is manifest in his interpretation of the emergence of an individuated self, a gradual process beginning at birth whereby The Subject becomes aware that it is not all and everything, but that there exists what Lacan calls an Other. Used in this way, The Other refers to the world of symbols, ideas, and entities external to The Subject and with which it must come to terms. The Other is roughly comparable to George Herbert Mead's generalized other as put forth in Mind, Self, and Society, though I have no reason to think that Lacan was familiar with Mead's work.

Lacan's peculiar use of the word Phallus, however, is oddly idiosyncratic, and can be very misleading. For Freud, the phallus was simple enough: the penis. For Lacan, however, The Phallus refers to that which is desirable and powerful, and which may mediate an infant's relationship with its mother. Lacan uses the concept effectively, but why it takes this particular form is not always clear. It's useful to acknowledge, however, that The Phallus is the signified or idea in the crucially important paternal metaphor that enables the infant to account for the mother's occasional absence without yielding to extreme anxiety and fear that it has been abandoned. If the paternal metaphor is somehow trapped or Foreclosed in the The Unconscious, the groundwork has been laid for psychosis.

Lacan's efforts to use simple mathematical models, or mathemes, to clarify some of his ideas, especially those pertaining to signifiers and signifieds, seem strangely misplaced. I don't know if Lacan thought he was really doing mathematics (he wasn't), or if he was just looking for convenient ways to simplify and summarize some fairly complex notions. Whatever the case, I found the mathemes sometimes confusing and sometimes just adventitious and sort of silly.

Though not acknowledged by Bailly, Lacan's work clearly manifests its production in a world of a specific and limited kind. An essential stage in the emergence of The Subject, for example, is the so-called Mirror Stage. The child sees itself in a mirror for the first time and must understand the distinction between itself and the mirror image. However, having just read Engel's The Condition of the Working Class in England, published in 1844, I have to acknowledge that there are societies, past and present, in which this ethnocentric account would be quite problematic simply because children, and even adults, don't have ready access to mirrors. I doubt that those who lacked, or today lack, timely access to mirrors are all subject to the developmental problems posed by Lacan. There were and are just too many of them! The Mirror Stage may be more plausible than Freud's notion of penis envy, but that's not saying much.

Whatever the strengths and limitations of Lacan's understanding of psychoanalysis, Bailly has written an accessible book that I found interesting and quite informative. Since I don't read French and have not read Lacan in English translation, I base this judgment on Bailly's rendering of the overall Lacanian perspective, which offered me insights, irritations, and productive ways of thinking that otherwise would never have occurred to me. I was especially impressed with the way in which Lacan made the case that, when all is said and done and properly understood, everything is language, a point of view that has become genuinely inter-disciplinary.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The best intro to Lacan, even for a pro 19 octobre 2011
Par Dr. Jan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
The mark of a great exposition is when beginners get it, and non beginners learn. Written in clear and cogent English, concepts come alive, connections become clear and concepts that took Lacan decades to develop, are given a refreshingly clear and concise exposition. This book is a must if you are interested in Jacques Lacan!
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