1st Edition

Law, Psychoanalysis, Society
Taking the Unconscious Seriously

ISBN 9780415710213
Published June 24, 2014 by Routledge
190 Pages

USD $160.00

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Book Description

'I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth' we say in a court of law. 'In a court of law, the truth is precisely what we will not say', says Lacan. ‘If God is dead, everything is permitted’, writes Dostoyevsky. ‘If God is dead, everything is prohibited’, responds Lacan. ‘I think, therefore I am’, reasons Descartes. ‘I am where I do not think’, concludes Lacan. What are we to make of Lacan’s inversions of these mottos? And what are the implications for the legal system if we take them seriously? This book puts the legal subject on the couch and explores the incestuous relationship between law and desire, enjoyment and transgression, freedom and subjection, ethics and atheism. The process of analysis problematizes fundamental tenets of the legal system, leading the patient to rethink long-held beliefs: terms like ‘guilt’ and ‘innocence’, ‘truth’ and ‘lies’, ‘reason’ and ‘reality’, ‘freedom’ and ‘responsibility’, ‘cause’ and ‘punishment’, acquire new and surprising meanings. By the end of these sessions, the patient is left wondering, along with Freud her analyst, whether ‘it is not psychology that deserves the mockery but the procedure of judicial enquiry’.

A unique study on the nexus of Law and Psychoanalysis, this book will interest students and scholars of both subjects, as well as general readers looking to explore this perverse and fascinating relationship.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Unconscious is Out There Part A: The Hole in the Subject 1. In the Beginning Was Lack 2. The Divided Subject: Freud 3. The Divided Subject: Lacan 4. Language, Truth and Lies 5. Demand Minus Need, The Hysteric and Her Master 6. The Bedrock of Sexual Difference Part B: The Hole in The Big Other 7. The Hole in Reality: Ideology Without End 8. The One Who Enjoys 9. The Subject’s Love of the Law 10. Transgression Without End? 11. Guilt Before the Law 12. Enjoyment Minus Freedom 13. The Hole in the Law 14. The Hole in the Master Part C: Placebos 15. In Place of the Object: Fantasy 16. The Subject and Her ‘Decaffeinated’ Neighbor 17. Work, Capitalism, Sex, Shopping (and shopping for sex) 18. Art, Culture, Poetry, Love 19. Nation, Community 20. Democracy, Bureaucracy Part D. Atheism 21. Dethroning the Master 22. From Lack to the Act 23. Towards An Atheist Jurisprudence

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Maria Aristodemou is Senior Lecturer in Law at Birkbeck College, University of London


"Law, Psychoanalysis, Society invites the reader to be guided on an unconventional journey of legal analysis. On this journey, the law itself is the patient of psychoanalysis...After reading this book, legal scholars—academics and students—will continue thinking, throughout the course of the study and practice of law, about what it is that is
hidden in law but staring us directly in the face."
Anastasia Tataryn, The Modern Law Review