9545 - "The Ego is Always At the Wheel": Psychoanalysis, Politics, and the Death Drive - This course will explore some of the theoretical and political implications of one of Freud's most contentious concepts--the death drive. The concept, coupled with Freud's theorization of the disastrous effects of aggression on civilization, prompted such derision that they were summarily dismissed by most of his disciples as more poetic than psychoanalytic, and were conflated in the larger culture as an absurd "secret wish" to commit suicide. However, Freud's persistent use of the death drive in his later work must be acknowledged in terms of a larger historical framework; it is in part a response to the vortex of crises in Modernity that produced the trauma of both world wars. We will consider how Lacan's "return to Freud" championed a re-thinking of the death drive as crucial to understanding Freudian thought. Lacan's often polemical hostility to ego psychology is a reaction to the "repression" of the death drive--which, for him, only exacerbates the very problem about which Freud attempted to warn us. As we will see, Lacan's reading of Freud and Heidegger on death becomes a central feature of his own incursions into language, history, culture, and ethics. The final weeks will be devoted to how the problematics of death, aggression, and recognition are taken up by such thinkers as Peter Osborne, Teresa Brennan, Joan Copjec, Slavoj Zizek, Judith Butler, Jan Pato ka, and Jacques Derrida.
Also from this web page: