From alienation to cynicism: Race and the Lacanian unconscious

Abstract

Positing race as the Lacanian object a that binds the subject to a fantasy-self alienated from its subjective drives, this article presents the traversal of race as an ethical responsibility, made increasingly achievable by the recent public focus on repeated incidents of deadly violence against African American men.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    For a fuller discussion of this and other parts of my argument, see my forthcoming book, Trauma and Race.

  2. 2.

    See especially Miller (1994) for more on the concept of extimacy.

  3. 3.

    I present a more extensive reading of the trauma of slavery in a 2001 issue of this journal (George, 2001).

  4. 4.

    For more on these versions of the Real, see especially Fink (1997) and Shepherdson (1996).

  5. 5.

    Popular identification of Zimmerman as “white” has called attention to the violence that such categories encourage; simultaneously, Zimmerman’s self-identification as Hispanic and his descent from a “white” father and Peruvian mother have urged many to complicate the category of whiteness (Gamboa, 2012).

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George, S. From alienation to cynicism: Race and the Lacanian unconscious. Psychoanal Cult Soc 19, 360–378 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1057/pcs.2014.36

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Keywords

  • the unconscious
  • Ferguson
  • drive
  • object a
  • African Americans
  • alienation