Lacan, Discourse, and Social Change: A Psychoanalytic Cultural Criticism / Edition 1

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Overview

Convinced that cultural criticism need not merely be an academic exercise but can help improve people's lives, Mark Bracher proposes a method of cultural criticism which is based on the principles of psychoanalytic treatment and which aims to alter subjectivity and behavior.In this forceful and engagingly written book, Bracher first accounts for the failure of contemporary cultural criticism to achieve significant social impact. He then offers a model of analysis that draws on Lacan's theoretical insights into the structure of subjectivity and the psychological functions of discourse, asserting that the use of this model can promote collective psychological change. While cultural criticism has generally focused on texts, Bracher instead analyzes audiences' actual responses—to a variety of discourses from "high" as well as popular culture: the political speeches of Ronald Reagan and Jesse Jackson, anti-abortion propaganda, pornography, Keats's "To Autumn," and Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Through analyzing these responses, Bracher is able to uncover the unconscious identifications and fantasies of the respondents—an intervention that, he argues, has the potential for altering subjectivity. In his view, such a method of cultural criticism is both unusually powerful and ethnically defensible, since instead of attacking or upholding a group's values, it reveals the psychological conflicts manifest in responses to particular texts.Lacan, Discourse, and Social Change will be essential reading for students as well as specialists in such fields as cultural criticism, feminist theory, literary theory, psychoanalytic criticism, reader-response criticism, reader-response criticism, and Lacanian theory.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In addition to his lucid presentation of Lacanian theory, Bracher's readings of political and literary discourses furnish a fresh perspective on familiar topics and texts. His objective of making cultural criticism socially significant raises important questions about the functions of criticism and of pedagogy. A thoroughly interesting, appealing, and original book."—Martha Noel Evans

"The project of designing a Lacanian cultural criticism is an ongoing and crucial one, and this book will make a significant contribution to current discussion. It is distinctive in both its theoretical core and its areas of critical analysis. In addition, Bracher's critique of New Historicism is astute and timely and should be productively controversial."—Julia Reinhard Lupton and Kenneth Reinhard

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801480638
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/1993
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: For a Response-Centered Psychoanalytic Cultural Criticism 1
Pt. I Theory
1 Desire in Discourse 19
2 Social Change and the Ethics of Critical Discourse 53
Pt. II Practice
3 Pornography 83
4 Antiabortionist Discourse 103
5 Political Campaign Rhetoric 119
6 Heart of Darkness 138
7 "To Autumn" 168
Epilogue 190
Works Cited 193
Index 199
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