I Am You: The Misrecognized Post-Structuralist Subject

Decent Essays

Jacques Lacan and Louis Althusser, post-structuralist philosophers and intellectual theorists, have expanded the confines of the human subject (Pauker). Addressing it from opposite academic disciplines they deal with many similar topics however expressed in different ways. As each independently discusses the self awareness of the human subject, many ties can be formed between these two theorists, both arguing that a subject is misrecognized and constructed differently to the traditional Cartesian Subject. Beginning with Lacan’s “The Mirror Stage,” he uses psychoanalysis to develop a new understanding of the intellectual development in babies, as he explains that when a child from six to eighteen months views itself in a mirror there is a “…transformation that takes place in the subject when he [sic] assumes an image” (Lacan 72). This transformation is the acknowledgement of the baby as a whole, instead of a “fragmented body,” here the baby sees itself apart from its mother and begins to view the world around them as an individual (Lacan 74). In Althusser’s “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses,” human subjectivity is formed through social interaction. Althusser uses the example of a policeman hailing an individual by saying, “Hey you there!” this recognition by the individual “…’transforms’ the individuals into subjects… by that very precise operation which I have called interpellation” (Althusser 55). It is evident through these broad summaries of Lacan’s and

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