universeThe new issue of the IJZS, Žižek and Lacan, is now available online. My article introduces a new Lacanian concept (universes of discourse), as well as four new discourses (the discourse of the capitalist, the discourse of biopower, the discourse of immaterial labor, and the discourse of critical theory), showing how Žižek’s mode of engagement is distinguished from psychoanalytic clinical engagement. In addition to that, the appendix develops the other possible 16 permutations of Lacan’s discourse theory. Here’s the abstract:

Žižek’s New Universe of Discourse: Politics and the Discourse of the Capitalist (warning pdf)
Levi R. Bryant

In what way is the thought of Slavoj Žižek to be distinguished from that of Jacques Lacan? This paper argues that the thought of Lacan and Žižek are to be distinguished at the level of the formal structure of discourse. Although Žižek often situates his own theoretical project in terms of the discourse of the analyst, his work occupies an uneasy place in this position insofar as the discourse of the analyst is directed at the singularity of the subject’s symptom, rather than shared political causes. Drawing on his “Milan Discourse” where Lacan presents the discourse of the capitalist, this paper argues that Žižek discourse inhabits the universe of capitalism, rather than the universe of mastery. Through the development of a modified version of Lacan’s discourse of the capitalist, it is shown that it is possible to derive three additional discourses– the discourse of biopower, the discourse of immaterial labor, and the discourse of critical theory –from the initial discourse of the capitalist. A psychoanalytic approach to these discourses using Lacanian discourse theory goes beyond standard accounts of biopolotical production and immaterial labor by revealing the function of the unconscious and real at work in these discourses, thereby opening new possibilities of engagement. Žižek’s theoretical project is shown to be an important cartography of this new universe of discourse, revealing both how the discourses inhabiting this universe contain certain constitutive deadlocks and devising strategies for engagement where the foe– due to the disappearance of the master and new forms of capitalism that can no longer be properly situated in terms of the discourse of the university –is no longer entirely clear.

Other Contributors:

Žižek: silence and the real desert
Rob Weatherill

Female Rivals: Feminism, Lacan & Žižek try to think of something new to say
Kareen Ror Malone

On Reading Žižek: Notes for Lacanian Clinicians (or what to do when a little bit of Žižek gets stuck in the throat)
Carol Owens

Embracing the Paradox: Zizek’s Illogical Logic
Sheila Kunkle

Lacan after Žižek: Self-Reflexivity in the Automodern Enjoyment of Psychoanalysis
Robert Samuels

Happy New Years!