- ---- by Victoria GraceBaudrillard's work revolves first and foremost around a defiant critique and rejection of any form of productivist logic characteristic of western modernity. This logic, enshrined in semiology, is evident in its twin sibling sites, both of which spawn a lineage of positive objects and subjects: the two sites of political economy and psychoanalysis. Of the two, psychoanalysis most cunningly disguises its exclusion of seduction, is in fact strangely seductive in its prima facie refusal of reversion.Throughout his work, Baudrillard most certainly makes plentiful use of psychoanalytic concepts and tropes, implicitly acknowledging its inevitable purchase on the constitution of the modern subject. But he is in the main always attempting to subvert its pre-eminent principles. In his references to psychoanalysis he vacillates between mildly ironic (psychoanalysis is for those who 'remain strapped in their Oedipal history' (FS, 172)) and searingly scathing (it has spun itself into 'a delirium of conceptual production' satisfying 'a sort of dizziness for explanations' (BL, 45)). Indeed, it is particularly with the work of Lacan that Baudrillard's pronouncements on the psychoanalytic enterprise intensify.What observations provide the basis of Baudrillard's rejection? His is a critique of the political economy of the sign. Where Lacan builds his typology of the subject on an inevitable bar that positions the signified on the other side of the signifier, Baudrillard refuses the inevitability of this bar. For Lacan there can be no subject of language without a recognition of this positioning; such a subject is already 'subjected' to the order of signification; to take up an existence as a subject of language within the social world constituted as self and the Other is to concede to being constituted as a being who lacks (and therefore desires). The bar in Lacan's formulation is the bar of repression (taking Freud's process of negation as his point of departure); hence for something to exist, something must be negated (censored or repressed).For Baudrillard this is absolutely not the case. The bar acts (intervenes) to establish the process of signification as positive, through a gesture of presence achieved through the parallel gesture of absence (denial, negation, exclusion, repression). According to Baudrillard, the fatal ﬂaw in this structural model is its reliance on a fundamental positivity of the sign and its assumption of value (CPS).Although Lacan builds a complex, critical theorisation of the psychic coordinates of the speaking subject in its imaginary misrecognition of itself, with its symbolic stakes, he begins and ends his psychoanalysis with the positivity of the sign and in particular the priority of the signifier. It is this beginning and end that Baudrillard confronts. Where Lacan cannot envisage any possibility outside the Law (of his symbolic order), apart from the exile of psychosis, Baudrillard precisely does envisage a very different and ﬂourishing 'symbolic' exchange that is outside the register of value, not contained within it as semiology would prescribe. Language is not about establishing what exists, albeit in its imaginary formation within a structure of subject and object; Baudrillard's symbolic is, he writes, not inscribed anywhere: 'It is not what comes to be registered beneath the repression barrier (line), the Lacanian Sd. It is rather what tears all Srs and Sds to pieces, since it is what dismantles their pairing off (appareillage) and their simultaneous carving out (découpe)' (CPS, 162). As a non-place and non-value, symbolic exchange is not of the order of the sign with its bar establishing value or identity. Symbolic ambivalence (singularity outside of value) only emerges in the resolution of the sign, as an event we could say.For Baudrillard, the demand that the world have meaning through signification is a demand that identity and equivalence be the basis for exchanging thought and world, exchanging the world for its meaning. The symmetry of the mirror relation that psychoanalysis inscribes between the world and its double, between subject and object, is enacted at the cost of the fundamentaldualitythatisambivalent,isoutsideanyuniversalscaleofvalue, is outside any point of reference for identity or equivalence. Baudrillard is for the 'dual relation', and this includes language insofar as it is a symbolic exchange and not a process of signification that inevitably institutes the master (and hence phallic) signifier as the universal exchange standard.Baudrillard suggested that Lacan's seduction avenges Freud's foreclosure of seduction (S) but that this is an illusion of seduction; it remains unambivalently within the terms of the Law. Baudrillard was going to write The Mirror of Desire (a complement to his The Mirror of Production (1975 )), both of which more than glance sideways at the symmetry of Lacan's mirror stage, but he decided it wasn't worth it. For Baudrillard, psychoanalysis was 'almost useless in relation to what was interesting' (BL, 58-9).Passwords§ mirror
The Baudrillard dictionary. Richard G. Smith. 2015.