Stadt: Baltimore MD, USA

Frist: 2016-09-30

Beginn: 2017-03-23

Ende: 2017-03-26


The concept of jouissance as a total, limitless, excessive enjoyment on the one hand and as a type of castration, operating beyond the pleasure principle, on the other is one of the most fascinating elements of Lacanian psychoanalysis. Jouissance is linked to the body and to castration through language; it is linked to the (unattainable) Other, to prohibition and anxiety, and to the illusion of transgression. However, jouissance should be regarded not only as part of the subject’s struggle to balance himself between excess, desire, and castration, but also as a concept that can tell us something about the “mental state” of a society in crisis. Film, literature, caricatures, newspaper articles, and social media are especially interesting in this respect as they convey, consciously or unconsciously, the collective symptoms that emerge from a repressed discomfort with the political situation, for instance.

The seminar aims at exploring this particular notion of jouissance that has not received much academic attention so far. Examples could be the obscene jouissance of postmodern witch-hunts in the newspapers (scapegoat mechanisms), the genre of the horror or slasher movie, the ironic oscillation between desire, jouissance, and castration in books like Michel Houellebecq’s Soumission, or plays/films like Yasmina Reza’s Le Dieu du carnage and Roman Polanski’s Carnage that playfully reveal the hypocrisy of politically correct speech and the ambivalence between tolerance and hidden aggressiveness.

The seminar seeks papers that examine the connection between media, film, literature, and jouissance. The papers and discussions should explore questions such as: What kind of political anxiety do the notions of jouissance, desire, or castration imply? Are there differences apparent between the art and culture of the modern and the postmodern world? What is the role of jouissance when it comes to situations of political/social crisis? Which connections could exist between jouissance and political correctness?

Please submit your abstract (aprox. 500 words) exclusively via the website

Contact: Dr. Julia Brühne, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz (

Beitrag von: Julia Brühne

Redaktion: Christof Schöch