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Bär, E.S. (1974). Understanding Lacan. Psychoanal. Contemp. Sci., 3(1):473-544.

(1974). Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Science, 3(1):473-544

7 Critique of Theory

Understanding Lacan

Eugen S. Bär, Ph.D.

In Recent Years the movement of French structuralism which comprises such authors as Althusser, Foucault, Lacan, Lévi-Strauss, Deleuze, Barthes, and Todorov, and originated with the Swiss F. de Saussure, has had a noticeable impact on contemporary theories in the fields of linguistics (Jakobson), anthropology (Lévi-Strauss), sociology (Althusser), psychoanalysis (Lacan), literary criticism (Barthes, Todorov), and philosophy (Deleuze). In general, most American critics believe that authors such as Lévi-Strauss and Lacan have come up with what look like interesting homeo-or isomorphisms between linguistic structures and sociopsychological states and processes. But on closer scrutiny their attempts seem to fail to prove precisely what makes them so provocative, namely, a strict correspondence between linguistic data or processes and those of psychology, sociology, and anthropology. It is therefore advisable to look very carefully at the application of linguistic concepts to social-science matters and to note the transformations, if any, which these concepts undergo when they are used to articulate nonlinguistic topics.

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