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October 17, 2005


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Well, they come to the same thing if you cross-multiply...



I did the same thing, but I never got Lacanian algebra, anyway.



I think you're on the right track at the end. It seems we have to distinguish (and not just terminologically) between the macro-level functioning of the Stalinist state in the 20th century, (in which it can be seen as another side of the University Discourse) and the actual experience of living under Stalinism (which could be called perverse). It could be argued that any "theory of Stalinism," should such a thing come to exist, would have to start from this point. Perhaps one could say, provided we have not already exhausted and over-extended the 4 Discourses, that what made the experience of Stalinism (in this case schematized by the Analytic Discourse) so perverse is that it was getting it's input from the University Discourse instead of the Hysteric's. This would make a good deal of sense, as S1 is in the position of "production" in the University Discourse... in other words, rather than taking the hysteric's overdetermined chain of signifiers as it's object, Stalinism is perverse precisely because its object is power as such (in this case, the seedy under-side of capitalism). Hope this helps your proof.


That's a terrific insight. Thanks so much. I will be working with this over the next week or two (as I take kids to soccer games and have an American Girl Doll slummer party--heaven help us). But, your angle seems very, very smart. I like especially the way you explain the substitution of university discourse for hysterics--that is really good.


Something else to consider... how does this perverse link function now that the antagonism within the University Discourse (i.e. capitalism/communism) has been sublated? Is this the true legacy of Abu Ghraib, and if so how would a comparison of that perversity and the perversity of Stalinism enrich our understanding of each phenomenon?


Wow--great idea.

I've been playing with a reading of the shift from lenin, to Stalin, to the bureaucracy in terms of a kind of movement through the 4 discourses, but, with your idea of replacing the hysteric's discourse with, perhaps, the perverse on, or simply with an inversion of the master's discourse (which fits well with the understanding of the democratic invention as creating the place for the totalitarian leader.

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