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Green, S.R. (2011). Ruti, Mari. ‘The fall of fantasies: a Lacanian reading of lack’. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 2008, 56, 2, pp. 483-508.. J. Anal. Psychol., 56(4):576-579.

(2011). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 56(4):576-579

Ruti, Mari. ‘The fall of fantasies: a Lacanian reading of lack’. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 2008, 56, 2, pp. 483-508.

Review by:
Sharon R. Green

Mari Ruti has made a valuable contribution to the dialogue between clinicians and philosophers, especially for those, such as myself, who consider psychoanalysis a practice of ‘applied philosophy’. One of the great values of this paper is Ruti's fluid use of non-Lacanian language and concepts (mostly borrowed from psychoanalysis) to describe Lacan's densely philosophical ideas regarding ontological lack. In addition, Ruti discusses the clinical application of these concepts from several perspectives.

First, Ruti explains that Lacan is interested in what it means ‘for human beings to face their radical negativity or nothingness, and to wrestle with the recognition that their lives are built on unstable ground’ (p. 485). She states that she is limiting her paper to early Lacanian theory and ‘particularly the relationship that Lacan draws between the subject's inner lack and the creative potentialities of the psyche’ (p. 486). She explains that ontological lack is not to be confused with ideas of deprivation or situational ‘lack’ as a consequence of childhood traumas, abusive personal histories, or oppressive social conditions. Rather, ontological lack is the void around which we are constituted as subjects. We can never fill this lack although the ego attempts to cover it over by narcissistic fantasies that generate a reassuring sense of self-coherence and completion.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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