On the Passage from the ‘Structuralist’ to the Later Lacan

In discussion with certain colleagues in recent times, I thought it useful to reflect on Lacan’s shift from a ’structuralist’ psychoanalysis rooted in linguistics (in the 1950s) to his ‘late’ work, which I figure to date from around the time of Seminars XVI and XVII. (Structuralism is in quotes here as Lacan, for his part, denied being a structuralist per se). To put it very schematically, there are several reasons why I believe Lacan moved away from the clinic of the 1950s, with its language derived from Saussure and Jakobson, to his later period. I present some of these reasons here, without claiming that the list is any way exhaustive:

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