On Psychoanalytic Discourse – The Capitalist’s Discourse (Milan, Italy): 12th May 1972: Jacques Lacan

by Julia Evans on May 12, 1972

Title: On Psychoanalytic Discourse

Given by Jacques Lacan at the University of Milan on 12th May 1972

Translated by Jack W. Stone.

Published by the University of Missouri, here

Available here

Or at www.LacanianWorksExchange.net   /lacan

Now available bilingual at www.Freud2Lacan.com, or here

In French & Italian:

Title: 1972-05-12 Du discours psychanalytique: Jacques Lacan

Published in the bilingual work: Lacan in Italia, 1953-1978: En Italie Lacan, Milan:

Publisher, La Salmandra:

1978 pp. 32-55.

Available from  www.lutecium.org : here

Available from www.ecole-lacanienne.net, École Lacanienne de Psychanalyse/BiblioLacan/Pas-tout Lacan, here and for download here

Introduction to the French text:

Discours de Jacques Lacan à l’Université de Milan le 12 mai 1972, paru dans l’ouvrage bilingue : Lacan in Italia 1953-1978. En Italie Lacan, Milan, La Salamandra, 1978, pp. 32-55.


Two quotations from ‘Fascism, a new perfume’ by Claudia Iddan, 3rd April 2019 : See here

Circulated on NLS-Messager, see here, Subject: [nls-messager] 3065.en/ Lacanian Review Online: Smells like Segregation,  Date: 3 April 2019

Quote from Iddan: thereby reinforcing the addictive power at the place of a symbolic identification with an Ideal.

Quote from Iddan : At a conference in Milan in 1972, Lacan spoked about a “fifth discourse” based on that of the master, in fact substituting for the master discourse. This change is produced by a small inversion between the element situated in the master discourse in the position of agent and the other element situated at the place of the truth. In other words, an inversion between the master signifier and the divided subject.

Lacan said about this discourse that it is “follement astucieux” [‘madly’ or ‘devilishly’ astute]. He says : « Ça marche comme sur des roulettes, ça ne peut pas marcher mieux, mais justement ça marche trop vite, ça se consomme, ça se consomme si bien que ça se consume. » [“It runs like clockwork, it couldn’t go better, but it just goes too fast, it is consumed, it is consumed so well that it consumes itself”].

Quote from p10-11 of Jack W. Stone’s translation :

. . . the crisis, not of the master discourse, but of capitalist discourse, which is its substitute, is overt (ouverte).

I am not at all saying to you that capitalist discourse is rotten, on the contrary, it is something wildly clever, eh?

Wildly clever, but headed for a blowout.

After all, it is the cleverest discourse that we have made. It is no less headed for a blowout. This is because it is untenable. It is untenable . . . in a thing that I could explain to you . . . because capitalist discourse is here, you see . . . [indicates the formula on the board] . . . a little inversion simply between the S1 and the ???? . . . which is the subject . . . it suffices so that that goes on casters (ça marche comme sur des roulettes), indeed that cannot go better, but that goes too fast, that consumes itself, that consumes itself so that is consumed (ça se consomme, ça se consomme si bien que ça se consume)


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Julia Evans

Practicing Lacanian Psychoanalyst, London & Sandwich in Kent


Other texts

On Lacanian History here

Use of power here

Lacanian Transmission : here

Some Lacanian History : here

Topology : here

By Sigmund Freud here

Notes on texts by Sigmund Freud : here

By Jacques Lacan here

Notes on texts by Jacques Lacan here

By Julia Evans here