Notes for the class on using Lacan to destabilize the existing idea of Doll’s House as a Feminist Play
- Lacan and Iregary are the two people we are going to touch upon in this respect.
- Background of Lacan: He was kicked out of the psychoanalytic association and he was thrown out of the hospitals he was teaching in because he took client’s time only for 3 min or 2 min instead of the allotted one hour.
- He started lecturing everyday. He had students of the likes of Foucault and Derrida.
- In India, we have only retained Freud and we have never looked at Lacan seriously. Freud came before colonialism.
- Lacan introduced three concepts
- For Lacan, language belonged to the symbolic as against the real out there.
- He said that there was always a tension between the symbolic and the unconscious.
- Notion of the subject is one who suffers, and one who always has to deal with suffering as opposed to the individual, who is more marked by his actions. Individual tends to believe that he functions from a space outside society, and that he can establish or bring about change. This idea emerges post Protestantism and Industrialisation.
- All spaces mark you as something or someone. You are the person, therefore, who is suffering that construct that the space puts upon you.
- You are produced constantly and this gives you coherence.
- The symbol of the tension between the symbolic and the unconscious creates a tension; a tension that challenges the “I think, therefore I am”. There is a gap between the symbolic which is the “I think” and the “I am” which is the unconscious. Therefore, you are not formed before you think.
- All representations do not represent reality but only in a specific urban tradition.
- Slumdog uses the realist tradition to represent the real. It is mot the real.
Iregary: Symbolic is male. All that we produce is the male symbolic. Necessary other to the male and hence outside the male symbolic is the female symbolic. Therefore, the only sex that is there is male. The female is only outside the male self.
Now, then, is Doll’s House then a feminist play in that it seeks to address or speak about the female symbolic? Or does it still speak of the male symbolic itself?
Independence-she walks out- male symbolic
Economic freedom- male symbolic
Where is the female symbolic then?
It is only mimicking the male to draw attention to the male itself in order to destabilize the male symbolic.
[Education and media are the two main ideological apparatus that of the state that perpetuates the male symbolic]
By mimicking, then, they just point to the gap between the male symbolic and the unconscious and are not really creating a female’s play.