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1NC vs Wake

Lundberg 12 [Christian O. Lundberg, Director of Cultural Studies and Associate Professor of Rhetoric at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2012, Lacan in Public: Psychoanalysis and the Science of Rhetoric, pub. University Alabama Press, p. 165-175]

As a mode of individuation and subjectivization, egos are economies of frustration and compensation. This economy relies on a split in the freudian demand, which is both a demand to satiate a specific need and a demand for the addressee to provide an automatic fulfillment of a need. The generative power of the demand relies on two things: the split between the demand and the need that it attempts to redress, and the fact that some demands will be refused. This economy of need and frustration works because the refusal of a specific need articulated as a demand on another is also a refusal of the idea that the addressee of the demand can fulfill all the subject’s needs, requiring a set of compensatory economic functions to negotiate the refusal of specific demands. “Ego,” then, names the economy of compensatory subjectivization driven by the repetition and refusal of demands. The nascent subject presents wants and needs in the form of the demand, but the role of the demand is not the simple fulfillment of these wants and needs. The demand and its refusal are the fulcrum on which the identity and insularity of the subject are produced: an unformed amalgam of needs and articulated demands is transformed into a subject that negotiates the vicissitudes of life with others. Put in the meta- phor of developmental psychology, an infant lodges the instinctual demands of the id on others but these demands cannot be, and for the sake of develop- ment, must not be fulfilled. Thus, pop psychology observations that the incessant demands of children for impermissible objects (“may i have a fourth helping of dessert”) or meanings that culminate in ungroundable authori- tative pronouncements (the game of asking never ending “whys”) are less about satisfaction of a request than the identity-producing effects of the parental “no.” in “The Question of Lay Analysis,” freud argues that “if . . . demands meet with no satisfaction, intolerable conditions arise . . . [and] . . . the ego begins to function. . . . [T]he driving force that sets the vehicle in mo- tion is derived from the id, the ego . . . undertakes the steering. . . . The task of the ego [is] . . . to mediate between the claims of the id and the objections of the external world.”31 Later, in Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, and Civilization and Its Discontents, freud relocates the site of the ego’s genesis beyond the parent/child relationship and in the broader social relationships that animate it. Life with others inevitably produces blockages in the indi- vidual’s attempts to fulfill certain desires, since some demands for the fulfill- ment of desires must be frustrated. This blockage produces feelings of guilt, which in turn are sublimated as a general social morality. The frustration of demand is both productive in that it authorizes social moral codes and, by ex- tension, civilization writ large, although it does so at the cost of imposing a contested relationship between desire and social mores.32 Confronted by student calls to join the movement of 1968 Lacan famously quipped: “as hysterics you demand a new master: you will get it!” under- standing the meaning of his response requires a treatment of Lacan’s theory of the demand and its relationship to hysteria as an enabling and constraining political subject position. Lacan’s theory of the demand picks up at freud’s movement outward from the paradigmatic relationships between the parent/ child and individual/civilization toward a more general account of the sub- ject, sociality, and signification. The infrastructure supporting this theoreti- cal movement transposes freud’s comparatively natural and genetic account of development to a set of metaphors for dealing with the subject’s entry into signification. As already noted, the Lacanian aphorism that “the signifier represents a subject for another signifier inverts the conventional wisdom that a pre-given subject uses language as an instrument to communicate its subjective inten- tions.”33 The paradoxical implication of this reversal is that the subject is simultaneously produced and disfigured by its unavoidable insertion into the space of the Symbolic. An Es assumes an identity as a subject as a way of ac- commodating to the Symbolic’s demands and as a node for producing de- mands on its others or of being recognized as a subject.34 As i have already argued, the demand demonstrates that the enjoyment of one’s own subjectivity is useless surplus produced in the gap between the Es (or it) and the ideal i. As a result, there is excess jouissance that remains even after its reduction to hegemony. This remainder may even be logically prior to hegemony, in that it is a useless but ritually repeated retroactive act of naming the self that produces the subject and therefore conditions possibility for investment in an identitarian configuration. The site of this excess, where the subject negotiates the terms of a non- relationship with the Symbolic, is also the primary site differentiating need, demand, and desire. need approximates the position of the freudian id, in that it is a precursor to demand. Demand is the filtering of the need through signification, but as Sheridan notes, “there is no adequation between need and demand.”35 The same type of split that inheres in the freudian demand inheres in the Lacanian demand, although in Lacan’s case it is crucial to no- tice that the split does not derive from the empirical impossibility of ful- filling demands as much as it stems from the impossibility of articulating needs to or receiving a satisfactory response from the other. Thus, the specificity of the demand becomes less relevant than the structural fact that de- mand presupposes the ability of the addressee to fulfill the demand. This impossibility points to the paradoxical nature of demand: the demand is less a way of addressing need to the other than a call for love and recognition by it. “in this way,” writes Lacan, “demand annuls the particularity of everything that can be granted by transmuting it into a proof of love, and the very satisfactions that it obtains for need are reduced to the level of being no more than the crushing of the demand for love.”36 The other cannot, by definition, ever give this gift: the starting presupposition of the mirror stage is the constitutive impossibility of comfortably inhabiting the Symbolic. The structural impossibility of fulfilling demands resonates with the freudian de- mand in that the frustration of demand produces the articulation of desire. Thus, Lacan argues that “desire is neither the appetite for satisfaction, nor the demand for love, but the difference that results from the subtraction of the first from the second.”37 This sentiment animates the crucial Lacanian claim for the impossibility of the other giving a gift that it does not have, namely the gift of love: “all demand implies . . . a request for love. . . . Desire begins to take shape in the margin in which demand becomes separated from need: this margin being that which is opened up by demand, the appeal of which can be unconditional only in regards to the other . . . having no universal satisfaction. . . . it is this whim that introduces the phantom of omnipotence, not of the subject, but of the other in which his demand is installed.”38 This framing of demand reverses the classically liberal presupposition regarding demand and agency. Contemporary and classical liberal democratic theories presume that the demand is a way of exerting agency and, further, that the more firmly the demand is lodged, the greater the production of an agential effect. The Lacanian framing of the demand sees the relationship as exactly the opposite: the more firmly one lodges a demand, the more desperately one clings to the legitimate ability of an institution to fulfill it. Hypothetically, demands ought reach a kind of breaking point where the inability of an institution or order to proffer a response should produce a reevaluation of the economy of demand and desire. In analytic terms, this is the moment of subtraction, where the manifest content of the demand is stripped away and the desire that underwrites it is laid bare. The result of this “subtraction” is that the subject is in a position to relate to its desire, not as a set of deferrals, avoidances, or transposition but rather as an owned political disposition. As Lacan frames it, demanding subjects are either learning to reassert the centrality of their demand or coming to terms with the impotence of the Other as a satisfier of demands: “But it is in the dialectic of the demand for love and the test of desire that development is ordered. . . . [T]his test of the desire of the Other is decisive not in the sense that the subject learns by it whether or not he has a phallus, but in the sense that he learns that the mother does not have it.”39 The point of this disposition is to bring the subject to a point where they might “recognize and name” their own desire and, as a result, become a political subject in the sense of being able to truly argue for something without being dependent on the other as a support for or organizing principle for political identity. Thus, desire has both a general status and a specific status for each subject. It is not just the mirror that produces the subject and its investments but the desire and sets of proxy objects that cover over this original gap. As Easthope puts it: “Lacan is sure that everyone’s desire is somehow different and their own—lack is nevertheless my lack. How can this be if each of us is just lost in language . . . passing through demand into desire, something from the Real, from the individual’s being before language, is retained as a trace enough to determine that I desire here and there, not anywhere and everywhere. Lacan terms this objet petit a . . . petit a is different for everyone; and it can never be in substitutes for it in which I try to refind it.”40 Though individuated, this naming is not about discovering a latently held but hidden interiority, rather it is about naming a practice of thinking the uniqueness of individual subjects as a product of discourses that produce them. Thus, this is an account of political subjectivization that is not solely oriented toward or determined by the locus of the demand but that is also determined by the contingent sets of coping strategies that orient a subject toward others and a political order and serve as the condition of possibility for demands. As Lacan argues, this is the point where a subject becomes a kind of new presence or a new political possibility: “That the subject should come to recognize and to name his desire; that is the efficacious action of analysis. But it isn’t a question of recognizing something which would be entirely given. . . . In naming it, the subject creates, brings forth, a new presence in the world.”41 Alternatively, subjects can stay fixated on the demand, but in doing so they forfeit their desire, or as Fink argues, “an analysis . . . that . . . does not go far enough in constituting the subject as desire leaves him or her stranded at the level of demand . . . unable to truly desire.”42 A politics defined by and exhausted in demands is by definition a hysterical politics. The hysteric is defined by incessant demands on the other at the expense of ever articulating a desire that is theirs. In the Ethics of Psychoanalysis, Lacan argues that the hysteric’s demand that the Other produce an object is the support of an aversion toward one’s desire: “the behavior of the hysteric, for example, has as its aim to recreate a state centered on the object, insofar as this object . . . is . . . the support of an aversion.”43 This economy of aversion explains the ambivalent relationship between hysterics and their demands. On one hand, the hysteric asserts their agency, even authority, over the Other. Yet, what appears as unfettered agency from the perspective of a discourse of authority is also simultaneously a surrender of desire by enjoying the act of figuring the other as the one with the exclusive capability to satisfy the demand. Thus, “as hysterics you demand a new master: you will get it!” At the register of manifest content, demands are claims for action and seemingly powerful, but at the level of the rhetorical form of the demand or in the register of enjoyment, demand is a kind of surrender. As a relation of address the hysterical demand is more a demand for recognition and love from an ostensibly repressive order than a claim for change. The limitation of the students’ call on Lacan does not lie in the end they sought but in the fact that the hysterical address never quite breaks free from its framing of the master. The fundamental problem of democracy is not articulating resistance over and against hegemony but rather the practices of enjoyment that sustain an addiction to mastery and a deferral of desire. Hysteria is a politically effective subject position in some ways, but it is politically constraining from the perspective of organized political dissent. If not a unidirectional practice of resistance, hysteria is at best a politics of interruption. Imagine a world where the state was the perfect and complete embodiment of a hegemonic order, without interruption or remainder, and the discursive system was hermetically closed. Politics would be an impossibility: with no site for contest or reappropriation, politics would simply be the automatic extension of structure. Hysteria is a site of interruption, in that hysteria represents a challenge to our hypothetical system, refusing straightforward incorporation by its symbolic logic. But, stepping outside this hypothetical non-polity, on balance, hysteria is politically constraining because the form of the demand, as a way of organizing the field of political enjoyment, requires that the system continue to act in certain ways to sustain its logic. Though on the surface it is an act of symbolic dissent, hysteria represents an affirmation of a hegemonic order and is therefore a particularly fraught form of political subjectivization. The case of the hysteric produces an additional problem in defining jou- issance as equivalent with hegemony. one way of defining hysteria is to say that it is a form of enjoyment that is defined by its very disorganization. As Gérard Wajcman frames it, the fundamental analytical problem in defining hysteria is precisely that it is a paradoxical refusal of organized enjoyment by a constant act of deferral. This deferral functions by asserting a form of agency over the other while simultaneously demanding that the other pro- vide an organizing principle for hysterical enjoyment, something the other cannot provide. Hysteria never moves beyond the question or the riddle, as Wajcman argues: the “hysteric . . . cannot be mastered by knowledge and therefore remains outside of history, even outside its own. . . . [i]f hysteria is a set of statements about the hysteric, then the hysteric is what eludes those statements, escapes this knowledge. . . . [T]he history of hysteria bears witness to something fundamental in the human condition—being put under pressure to answer a question.”44 Thus, a difficulty for a relatively formal/ structural account of hegemony as a substitute for jouissance without reduc- tion: where is the place for a practice of enjoyment that by its nature eludes naming in the order of knowledge? This account of hysteria provides a sig- nificant test case for the equation between jouissance and hegemony, for the political promise and peril of demands and ultimately for the efficacy of a hysterical politics. But the results of such a test can only be born out in the realm of everyday politics. On Resistance: The Dangers of Enjoying One’s Demands The demands of student revolutionaries and antiglobalization protestors provide a set of opportunities for interrogating hysteria as a political practice. for the antiglobalization protestors cited earlier, demands to be added to a list of dangerous globophobes uncannily condense a dynamic inherent to all demands for recognition. But the demands of the Mexico Solidarity net- work and the Seattle independent Media project demand more than recognition: they also demand danger as a specific mode of representation. “Danger” functions as a sign of something more than inclusion, a way of reaffirming the protestors’ imaginary agency over processes of globalization. if danger represents an assertion of agency, and the assertion of agency is proportional to the deferral of desire to the master upon whom the demand is placed, then demands to be recognized as dangerous are doubly hysterical. Such demands are also demands for a certain kind of love, namely, the state might extend its love by recognizing the dangerousness of the one who makes the demand. At the level the demand’s rhetorical function, dangerousness is metonymically connected with the idea that average citizens can effect change in the prevailing order, or that they might be recognized as agents who, in the instance of the list of globalophobic leaders, can command the Mexican state to re- affirm their agency by recognizing their dangerousness. The rhetorical structure of danger implies the continuing existence of the state or governing apparatus’s interests, and these interests become a nodal point at which the hysterical demand is discharged. This structure generates enjoyment of the existence of oppressive state policies as a point for the articulation of identity. The addiction to the state and the demands for the state’s love is also bound up with a fundamental dependency on the oppression of the state: otherwise the identity would collapse. Such demands constitute a reaffirmation of a hysterical subject position: they reaffirm not only the subject’s marginality in the global system but the danger that protestors present to the global system. There are three practical implications for this formation. first, for the hysteric the simple discharge of the demand is both the be- ginning and satisfaction of the political project. Although there is always a nascent political potential in performance, in this case the performance of demand comes to fully eclipse the desires that animate content of the demand. Second, demand allows institutions that stand in for the global order to dictate the direction of politics. This is not to say that engaging such in- stitutions is a bad thing; rather, it is to say that when antagonistic engage- ment with certain institutions is read as the end point of politics, the field of political options is relatively constrained. Demands to be recognized as dan- gerous by the Mexican government or as a powerful antiglobalization force by the WTo often function at the cost of addressing how practices of glob- alization are reaffirmed at the level of consumption, of identity, and so on or in thinking through alternative political strategies for engaging globalization that do not hinge on the state and the state’s actions. Paradoxically, the third danger is that an addiction to the refusal of demands creates a paralyzing disposition toward institutional politics. Grossberg has identified a tendency in left politics to retreat from the “politics of policy and public debate.”45 Although Grossberg identifies the problem as a specific coordination of “theory” and its relation to left politics, perhaps a hysterical commitment to marginality informs the impulse in some sectors to eschew engagements with institutions and institutional debate. An addiction to the state’s refusal often makes the perfect the enemy of the good, implying a stifling commitment to political purity as a pretext for sustaining a structure of enjoyment dependent on refusal, dependent on a kind of paternal “no.” instead of seeing institutions and policy making as one part of the political field that might be pressured for contingent or relative goods, a hys- terical politics is in the incredibly difficult position of taking an addressee (such as the state) that it assumes represents the totality of the political field; simultaneously it understands its addressee as constitutively and necessarily only a locus of prohibition. These paradoxes become nearly insufferable when one makes an analyti- cal cut between the content of a demand and its rhetorical functionality. At the level of the content of the demand, the state or institutions that repre- sent globalization are figured as illegitimate, as morally and politically com- promised because of their misdeeds. Here there is an assertion of agency, but because the assertion of agency is simultaneously a deferral of desire, the identity produced in the hysterical demand is not only intimately tied to but is ultimately dependent on the continuing existence of the state, hegemonic order, or institution. At the level of affective investment, the state or institution is automatically figured as the legitimate authority over its domain. As Lacan puts it: “demand in itself . . . is demand of a presence or of an absence . . . pregnant with that other to be situated within the needs that it can satisfy. Demand constitutes the other as already possessing the ‘privilege’ of satisfying needs, that it is to say, the power of depriving them of that alone by which they are satisfied.”46 one outcome of framing demand as an affective and symbolic process tied to a set of determinate rhetorical functions enjoins against the simple celebration of demands as either exclusively liberatory, as unproblematic modes of resistance, as exhausting the political, or as nodes for the production of political identity along the lines of equivalence. Alternatively, a politics of desire requires that the place of the demand in a political toolbox ought to be relativized: demands are useful as a precursor to articulating desire; they are important when moored to a broader political strategy; but they are dangerous if seen as the summum bonum of political life. A politics of desire thus functions simply as a negative constraint on the efficacy of a politics of demand, and as a practice a politics of desire asks that political subjects constantly test their demands against the measure of desire or against an explicitly owned set of political investments that envision an alternative world. it is the presence of this alternative, explicitly owned as a desired end state of the political, that might become the prerequisite for desire-based solidarities in- stead of demand-driven affinities, and as such, a politics of desire recognizes the inevitability and productivity of frustrated demand as part and parcel of antagonistic democratic struggle.


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