, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 147–164 | Cite as

Technology and addiction: Subjectivity, scientific knowledge and the economy of jouissance

  • Kareen Ror MaloneEmail author
  • Christopher R Bell
  • John L Roberts
Original Article


As with any number of clinical ‘schools’ and approaches, Lacanian psychoanalysts encounter individuals whose presenting complaint is drug addiction. Psychoanalysis has often been underestimated in its effectiveness in treating addiction, data for other approaches being less stellar than often realized. Within the Lacanian orientation, addiction has been widely addressed, not as a specific syndrome but as a symptom with implications for the frame of the psychoanalytic work. In such Lacanian formulations, both clinical and cultural contexts are examined in disentangling the effects of drug use for addicted persons and within the social ideals, representations and prohibitions that undergird the value and significance of drug use in any given culture. Formal elements and functions of the process and products of speaking within psychoanalytic work inform Lacanian clinical practice. These elements can be discerned within individuals’ desires and speech and within the social contract. Lacanian concepts of subjectivity necessarily interact with the traditions and meanings inherent to Western societies. Such elements may be posited as the aftermath of the social necessity of speech, a process that fundamentally informs subjectivity. This article illustrates – using analysis of recent technological inventions – fantasies about technology, cultural representations of technology, and important parallels between technology and addiction. The authors take a psychoanalytic look at technology through current Lacanian clinical thinking on the subjective structure related to addiction.


addiction technology Lacan Internet psychoanalysis robotics 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kareen Ror Malone
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Christopher R Bell
    • 1
  • John L Roberts
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of West GeorgiaCarrollton
  2. 2.Après Coup Psychoanalytic AssociationNew York City

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