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Absolute other: Lacan’s ‘big Other’ as adjunct to critical social psychological analysis?

Hook, Derek (2008) Absolute other: Lacan’s ‘big Other’ as adjunct to critical social psychological analysis? Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 2 (1). pp. 51-73. ISSN 1751-9004

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Abstract

Lacanian theory offers a series of promising conceptualization – amongst then the notion of the ‘big Other’ – which, despite their obvious analytical value, have been curiously neglected by critical social psychology. This paper concerns itself with an overview of this concept of the ‘big Other’ particularly in reference to how it may benefit critical social psychological analyses. The explanatory value of this notion is introduced via a series of Lacanian paradoxes (the Other as vanishing-point of inter-subjectivity that cannot itself be subjectivized; the Other as simultaneously “inside” and “outside”; the Other as both embodiment of the social substance and yet also the site of the unconscious). I then move on to show how this notion opens conceptual opportunities for social psychological conceptualizations of the formation of the social. I close by demonstrating what the ‘big Other’ offers critical social psychological analyses of power.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://socialpsychology-compass.com/
Additional Information: © 2008 The Author
Library of Congress subject classification: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Sets: Departments > Social Psychology
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2007
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/2979/

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