The perverse discourses

Lacan describes how the discourse of Capitalism is formulated in relation to the discourse of the Master in Lacan-in-Italy, Milan.  it involves inverting its relation between agency and truth as follows:
This same inversion can be applied to the other three discourses [1].  These perverse forms were not named explicitly by Lacan.  My proposal is to take the other three from Television, in which Lacan distinguishes scientific discourse  from the discourse of the hysteric ((p 19 Norton edition), Professional Insurance Plan Against Analytic Discourse (PIPAAD)[2] as the name of the social movement formed by Freud’s descendants (p15), and political discourse in relation the philosophical discourse of Newton (p36).  The result places the master discourse in a particular relation to all four perverse forms as follows:


Of particular note here are the ways in which each perverse discourse picks up on different aspects of the discourse of the master:

  • Capitalism, by making the master’s truth its agent, tries to lock in a particular social organisation of mastery, affiliating itself to the master’s prior establishment of that organisation.
  • Science, by making its agent the production of the master in anticipation of a quarter-turn, pairs itself with the discourse of the master as its particular personal realisation.
  • The movement is dependent on the master’s relation of work to production, taking up this relation through an identification that seeks to emulate the master’s way of being.[3]
  • Finally, politics creates a production that is in the place of the master’s truth, putting its way of being in competition with the master.  The result is either a fight between them or a flight from the master’s presence.

These patterns of relationship [4] arise between each discourse and the perverse forms, resulting in an economy of discourses in which each discourse is bound to the other perverse forms by these four relations:

This economy functions like a complex molecule, underpinned by the four quadrants defining the way an enterprise inscribes itself.  This underpinning supports the multiple identifications of subjects in ways that mutually support each other. Each mode of identification can be represented by a different kind of voice that provides insight into the way the identity of the enterprise itself is sustained.

[1] Another way of deriving these is to rotate the terms following the figure-of-eight sequence in the perverse form of the quadripod:

This follows the approach for deriving the perverse discourses used by Laurent Chaine in his paper on Efficastration.
[2] Lacan’s acronym in French is SAMCDA (Societe d’assurance mutuelle contre le discours analytique) which, in French, sounds close enough to sancta to prompt the “sancta simplicitas” in Television.
[3] This dependent relation is shown by Laurent Chaine as that existing between the discourse of the University (Efficiency) and the discourse of Science (Efficacy), the former being a mode of subjectivation, while the latter is a mode of subjection.
[4] The relationship of affiliation is the sophisticated relation of a subgroup to a developmental leader in which the subgroup is trying to articulate what the leader ‘means’.  The other three correspond to sophisticated forms of the dependent, fight-flight and pairing basic assumptions.

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