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Volume 3 Issue 2 (July 1994), Pages 89-188

The child's entry into the symbolic order: a developmental‐societal interpretation of Jacques Lacan (pages 158-171)

Abstract

Lacan's psychoanalytic insights, as found primarily in his 1964 seminar “The four fundamental concepts of psychoanalysis” are interpreted within a social‐developmental framework. Using Piaget's theory of a structural transition from action logic to object logic I recast (1) Lacan's signifying function as a new competence emerging around age two and (2) the “Other” as the general content/context of this newness, namely the child's grasp of a societal‐symbolic order. The child's entry into that order is described as inherently linked to sexuality, desire and the unconscious and as accompanied by feelings of alienation and separation. Insofar as the desire of the unconscious is toward the “Other” Lacan seems to support my claim of an endogenous origin of the societal order.

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