Lacan et la théorie queer

Translated title of the contribution: Lacan and queer theory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This essay uncovers a basic compatibility between queer theory and Lacanian psychoanalysis by elaborating their shared commitment to antipsychologism. Observing that queer theory has its political origins in the aids crisis and traces its intellectual genealogy to Michel Foucault and Georges Canguilhem, the essay contends that queer theory actually begins with Freud, specifically, with his theories of polymorphous perversity, unconscious desire, and partial drives. Foucault's understanding of the disciplinary function of psychological and sexual identities is shown to be cognate with the psychoanalytic critique of imaginary identity; likewise, queer theory's critique of normalization can be connected with Lacan's critique of subjective adaptation to social norms. The axiomatic status in Lacanian doctrine of the impossibility of the sexual relation aligns psychoanalysis with queer theory's critique of heteronormativity. The essay concludes by explaining how queer theory and psychoanalysis part company on the question of pleasure. Whereas Foucault emphasizes pleasure's extensibility, Lacan shows how pleasure is complicated by jouissance and therefore by the death drive.

Translated title of the contributionLacan and queer theory
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)61-78
Number of pages18
JournalCliniques Mediterraneennes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 19 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Biopower
  • Death drive
  • Gay politics
  • Heteronormativity
  • Jouissance
  • Michel Foucault
  • Objet petit a
  • Sexual identity
  • Unconscious desire

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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