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Articulations of the Real: from Lacan to Badiou

Bell, LAJ (2011) Articulations of the Real: from Lacan to Badiou Paragraph: a journal of modern critical theory, 34 (1). pp. 105-120.

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This article gives a comparative analysis of the way in which Lacanian psychoanalysis and Alain Badiou’s mathematical ontology understand the category of the real, respectively, as the foundation of individual subjectivity or the name of being-as-being. A number of shifts in focus arise from the fundamental difference in the location of the void: from the individual act to the collective event; from death drive to immortal truth; from subjective destitution and cathartic purification to transformative interventions and constitutive thought. These shifts are exemplified, elaborated and analysed through a close reading of the thinkers’ respective commentaries on Sophocles’ Antigone. Foregrounding what is philosophically at stake in these differences, the article defends Badiou against Lacanian critics (most notably Slavoj Žižek and Eleanor Kaufman) by examining the ethical and political force of his innovation.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Literature and Languages > Languages and Translation
Authors :
Bell, LAJ
Date : March 2011
DOI : 10.3366/para.2011.0008
Related URLs :
Additional Information : This is an electronic version of an article published as Bell LAJ (2011). Articulations of the Real: from Lacan to Badiou. Paragraph: a journal of modern critical theory 34(1):105-120 Available online at:
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 08 Mar 2013 15:08
Last Modified : 31 Oct 2017 15:01

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