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Arnaud, G. (2003). Money as Signifier: A Lacanian Insight into the Monetary Order. Free Associations, 10(1):25-43.

(2003). Free Associations, 10(1):25-43

Money as Signifier: A Lacanian Insight into the Monetary Order

Gilles Arnaud

“So saying, he pulled out of his pocket a small coin, which he flung on to the table. ‘Just hear how true it rings. Almost the same sound as the real one. One would swear it was gold. I was taken in by it this morning, just as the grocer who passed it on to me had been taken in himself, he told me. It isn't quite the same weight, I think; but it has the brightness and the sound of a real piece; it is coated with gold, so that, all the same, it is worth a little more than two sous; but it's made of glass. It'll wear transparent’.” (Gide, 1931)

A Two-Sided Currency

Money Has Rarely Been considered as worthy of study by psychologists, perhaps because it seems to be a matter first and foremost for economists and financiers (Furnham & Argyle, 1998). The small number of (mostly psychoanalytically-oriented) clinicians who have dealt directly with the subject have usually confined their investigations to the importance that pecuniary questions are capable of taking on in neurotic processes (Fenichel, 1947; Borneman, 1978; Goldberg & Lewis, 1978; Matthews, 1991; Reiss-Schimmel, 1993) or, correlatively, psychoanalytical treatments, where not only payment as such but also the specific form it takes are considered to be part of the analysis' framework. According to this principle then, ‘hard cash’ is particularly apt to serve as an object of transference (Collège de psychanalystes, 1986, 1988).


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