I came across this article by Eugene Holland when looking for examples of schizoanalysis in practice for the reading group I participate in. As always, Holland’s writing is exceptionally clear and illuminating. The article is of special interest for the productive and congenial relations it draws between Lacanian psychoanalysis and Deleuze and Guattari’s work with Marx and historical modes of analysis. Well worth the read. It is also published in Paul Patton’s Deleuze: A Critical Reader. In my view there is often an unproductive opposition drawn between the work of Deleuze and Guattari and Lacan, where one is placed in the position of advocating one or the other. As can be observed from Zizek’s Organs Without Bodies, this is something that occurs among both Deleuzians and Lacanians. It seems to me that this opposition is mostly the result of the publication of Lacan’s seminar in the English speaking world. Anti-Oedipus was published in English in 1977. For many years we only had Lacan’s eleventh seminar (1977) and Ecrits: A Selection (1977). Work done in a “Lacanian” orientation tended to focus on the imaginary and the mirror-stage article, ignoring the real altogether, and espousing a high classical structuralism when discussing the symbolic. Very little was known about Lacan’s post-Seminar 11 work and how it undermined the claims of high structuralism with its claims that the big Other does not exist, that there is no Other of the Other, that there is no universe of discourse, and that the woman does not exist (indeed, Deleuze and Guattari’s assertion of “n-sexes” can be understood as falling squarely on the feminine side of the graphs of sexuation). The watershed moment that changed everything in “Lacanian studies” was the publication of Bruce Fink’s The Lacanian Subject (followed by the equally brilliant Clinical Introduction to Lacanian Psychoanalysis and the forthcoming Fundamentals of Psychoanalytic Technique: A Lacanian Approach), Zizek’s Sublime Object of Ideology, and most importantly Lacan’s 20th seminar, Encore (1998). In addition to this, we now have seminar 17, The Other Side of Psychoanalysis, which Guattari attended during the writing of Anti-Oedipus and references throughout. Prior to this the image of Lacan was that of a somewhat reactionary apologist of the phallic order who had one concept: the imaginary. It comes as little surprise that English-speaking readers, given the choice between the rich conceptual universe of Deleuze and Guattari that draws tools from Marx, Nietzsche, psychoanalysis, Freud, Lacan, Klein, Foucault, linguistic, the natural sciences, etc., etc., would have tended to look down their nose at what was then Lacanianism. As access to the unpublished seminars has become available– nearly all of them are translated at this point –and we’ve begun to learn more about Lacan’s work from the 60s on, it becomes possible to tell a very different story and perhaps undermine some of the reigning sterile oppositions haunting the world of theory.
%d bloggers like this: