Obsessionality, Order, Management: Psychoanalysis and Capitalism
Ian Parker


ABSTRACT: This paper is concerned with the way that obsessional neurosis, as described in psychoanalytic writing works and the way it is so functionally adaptive to the contemporary social order. I anchor this description in Lacan's work by focusing on Seminar VI, the seminar in which he discusses Hamlet as an emblematic obsessional and locates this figure in a particular kind of social order. The paper first traces key elements of obsessional neurosis; satisfaction, mastery, privacy, compartmentalisation, a relation to death and masculinity. It then moves on to show how this clinical structure is bound up with adaptation before locating this clinical structure in the capitalist order and then in contemporary management practices. I trace how these concerns with obsessionality and order are configured in the formal structure proposed by later Lacanian writing – here, as a crucial tension between what is given by structure and what is to be found in the experience of the subject – and explore in concluding comments some consequences for psychoanalytic clinical work.

Keywords: Obsessional neurosis, psychoanalysis, adaptation, management, structure, Lacan, Miller

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