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Mass consumption on the light of the Lacanian concept of discourse of hysteria

Grant number: 10/10479-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2010
Effective date (End): September 30, 2013
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Social Psychology
Principal Investigator:Nelson da Silva Junior
Grantee:Julio Cesar Lemes de Castro
Host Institution: Instituto de Psicologia (IP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The research focuses on the period from 1850 to 1970, characterized as second modernity, when consumption grows dramatically in importance, acquiring mass character and starting to vie with production as paradigm of social reproduction. The proposal is to understand the process of motivation of consumers on the light of the concept of discourse of hysteria, which integrates the matrix of discourses of Jacques Lacan. Speaking broadly, in the discoursive framework of consumption, the consumer, as split subject, occupies the position of agent, driven by lack in the position of truth. By questioning the advertising professional, in the position of other of the discourse, about his own desire, the consumer enthrones this professional as master signifier. The same role is played by models used to seduce the consumer and by targets that he, in turn, is encouraged to seduce. It results from this process a knowledge that attempts to explain the consumer desire and that, as battery of signifiers, projects itself on the universe of merchandises. The disjunction of impotence, in the bottom line, indicates the occurrence of partial enjoyment and at the same time of dissatisfaction, causing the process to repeat itself indefinitely. Using this scheme as a guide, the idea is to review the most relevant theoretical literature on mass consumption and to deepen the analysis of its mechanisms. To perform this task, other elements of the Lacanian conceptual arsenal will be deployed. It is, therefore, an interdisciplinary work grounded on the approach of social links via Lacanian psychoanalysis.

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