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Lacan and the Political (Thinking the Political) Paperback – October 3, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0415171878 ISBN-10: 0415171873 Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Yannis Stavrakakis is teaching fellow at the department to Government at the University of Essex and director of the M.A. program in Ideology and Discourse Analysis.
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Product Details

  • Series: Thinking the Political
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (October 3, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415171873
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415171878
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,910,678 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By "imfukt" on April 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
this was my real introduction to lacan. i had read several introductory accounts before, but after i sat down and read and thought about this book, it finally started to make some sense. it has an excellent explanation of lots of the basis of lacanian theory and does some good comparisons to other theories that lacan often gets misleadingly grouped into (like "postmodernism..." ugh). one of the best parts is the way that stavrakakis uses examples of actual political situations and events (environmental management, anti-semitism, the USSR, etc.) to make it clear how relevent lacan is to the real world. it's not only an explanation of lacan, but also an application to politics. stavrakakis takes great issue with utopian projects and uses various lacanian ideas to argue for a politics of radical democracy (i'd also suggest laclau if you're interested in that part of it). he may have an agenda, but whenever a friend wants to start thinking about lacanian psychoanalysis, this is the book i recommend to them.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. Koterbay on June 22, 2001
Format: Paperback
Lacan is an inherently difficult writer to understand; Stavrakakis provides one of the most lucid introduction to his ideas, serving to ground in clear terms the applicability of Lacanian concepts to the political and the social. While I have some disagreements with his elaborations and conclusions, these stem more from the breadth of my own developed Lacanian education- entirelly thanks to Stavrakakis- rather than what I initially brought to the experience of reading this fine text.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 7, 2004
Format: Paperback
Rarely does one read a book about post-structuralism/post-modernism/anything-having-to-do-with-those-crazy-French that is so unambiguous. Stavrakakis manages to give a stunningly clear, stunningly insightful exposition of Lacanian theory which, as he ends the essay, moves "beyond the Scylla of conformity and the Charybodis of utopianism". While this is in a different context, it does highlight something I've encountered in reading contemporary philosophy. The tension between simplicity, (which its risk of being shallow, "self-helpish") and intentional, ambiguous, "figure it out yourself" panache, characteristic especially of Lacan and Derrida, who actually claim that they keep their origional texts ambigious. Obviously, it would be useless if they dumbed down their theories to the point of idiocy, yet the risk in the opposite direction is as problematic: what relevence do you have if no one understands you? Philosophy is too busy dealing with the "death of man" when most people haven't even dealt with the "death of god"! Stavrakakis pulls it off beautifully, relating Lacan's particular Freudian conception of the "closure of metaphysics", (that is, the realization that many ethical justifications in social and political practices have only illusory basis) to a specific ethic that justifies (gasp!) good ole fashioned democracy, albeit with a depressing, French twist. If you like this, also check out "From Bakunin to Lacan: Anti-Authoritarian Thought and the Dislocation of Power" by Saul Newman.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Good book for beginners.

I read this book after reading almost exclusively (5 hours per day) and methodically Écrits (I read it cover to cover twice) and the Seminar books for about a 12 month period. About every 5 pages found myself uttering the words "Well, no kidding". I don't know what Stavrakakis's background is but I got the impression he was catering to an academic crowd groping after the opportunities to co-opt concepts found in Lacan's works.

If your are someone who seriously studies politics or political science and want to begin to develop a sense of how Lacan's thought can be introduced into your primary area of interest this book should be rated a 4 star book.

If you have read Lacan and know Lacan this book won't offer you anything new or insightful.

$52 is a criminal price. It not a bad pick up if you can get a nice used copy for $5.00
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By Andrew Yang on September 12, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This book is pretty good. I won like 5 rounds from the psycho analysis cards I cut from it.
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