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Metaphor and metonymy: desire in the thread of signifiers

Grant number: 19/26989-5
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2020
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Linguistics
Principal researcher:Lauro José Siqueira Baldini
Grantee:Elisa Mara Do Nascimento
Home Institution: Instituto de Estudos da Linguagem (IEL). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):21/07176-3 - Desire, metaphore and metonymy: effects of Lacans encounter with the 1950s linguistics, BE.EP.MS


My research project focuses on the relationship between Psychoanalysis and Linguistics, defined according to Milner (2010) as a "constant contact" which happens eventually in the form of a shock or conflict and has an effect on both. I take as object of study the concept of desire as defined by Lacan and delimited by the notions of metaphor and metonymy, both derived from a Saussurean Linguistics. This concept is specified in the following texts from Écrits (1966): Le séminaire sur "La lettre volée", Fonction et champ de la parole et du langage en psychanalyse, L'instance de la lettre dans l'inconscient ou la raison depuis Freud, La direction de la cure et les principes de son pouvoir and Subversion du sujet et dialectique du désir dans l'inconscient freudien. Within this framework, the following research question is proposed: to what extent did the concepts of metaphor and metonymy, understood as "signifier's essential functions" (LACAN [1957-1958]), and also the notion of chain of signifiers, understood as a material space where desire can be visible, allow Lacan to redefine the category of desire already present in Freud's psychoanalytical theory? Thus, we intend to comprehend the passage from one notion of desire - related to the attempt of repeating a primordial experience of satisfaction based on the pleasure principle - to a different one, conceived as a dialectic between desire and a form of lack which is impossible to be fulfilled by any concrete object. In this second notion, desire is related to the formation of a subjective position: the subject of desire. In short, I intend to comprehend the role of a particular reading from linguistic concepts in this change of theoretical status. In addition to that, I also intend to examine whether the theorization of concepts that are draw from a Saussurean Linguistics and transferred into the field of Psychoanalysis offers any interesting insights into the relationship between these two fields of knowledge. (AU)

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