7. Psychoanalytic Analysis
- we tend to describe ideas of love and satisfaction in terms of completion
- media texts reflect human mental drives toward, unity , pleasure and desire
The Pleasure Principle- is the uncontrollable human desire to satisfy desire, or an appetite for
something that promises enjoyment, satisfaction and pleasure of attainment - wanting sex,
power, or food.
- We can experience pleasure through, urination, horror, or shock
- We often gain pleasure from purposely breaking the laws, or putting ourselves in situations
that feel life threatening
- Pleasure is what momentarily allows us to transcend ordinary existence than reality
- Pleasure is what seems to take us outside ourselves
The Reality Principle- represents constant curbing of desire according to possibility, law or social
- We learn to control our drives as we grow older and integrate into society
- If we didn’t have the reality principle , then we would pursue our desires without any regard
towards ourselves and those around us.
- Reality principle keeps the pleasure principle in check (when we need to go to the bathroom we
do so in the appropriate place and not wherever we please)
- Ego related to the reality principle comes to a decision as to whether the attempt to
obtain satisfaction is to be carried or postponed , or whether it may not be necessary for the
demand by instinct to be suppressed because its dangerous.
- The human psyche is born out of the tense relationship between the pleasure principle and the
- Repression is the process of mentally containing our desires below conscious recognition or
expression . Individuals repress desires, and pleasures so that they don’t purge from our minds.
By repressing those desires into the unconscious it helps manage the tension between the
- Unconscious the part of the mind that acts as a reservoir for desire, and it always attempts to
make repressed desires felt again by injecting them in normal life.
- Lack Jacques Lacan there is not so much struggle between pleasure and reality as there is a
GAP that seperates them.
- We still desire and wish for pleasure but we are trapped in reality whose social order and
language us from knowing or expressing pleasure fully
- For Lacan, the unconscious is the shared realm of pleasures and desires that remain beyond
our access because of the insufficiency of language in knowing these pleasures
o So by transversing the gap and reuniting with those lost pleasures motivates many of
our actions in life
o Repression or lost desires influence the creation of media texts, and explain the mental
desires activated by those texts. Psychoanalytic theory constructs all individuals as
mentally similar its important to note that psychoanalysis is an approach that explains
the STRUCTURE of media texts.
- Interested in psychosis and the way that sexual experiences and drives direct human action.
- Identity was the result of outside forces encountered early in life. - Infants are born “polymorphously perverse” or with the ability to experience pleasure in an
infinite amount of ways because they have no self-control or are uninhibited by social
- “the youngest babies make no distinction between having a desire and fulfilling it- this sort of
distinction is something that must be learned.
- Origins of sexual pleasure are found in the “oral stage” or the union between the mother and
the child In the act of breastfeeding.
- The mouth is the first erogenetic zone in the developing human and all physical activity is
concentrated on providing satisfaction for the needs of that zone. children initially breast
feed for sustenance, but then it begins to derive other pleasures from the breast that are either
libidal or sexual.
- Child eventually progresses through ANAL AND PHALLIC STAGE’
o ANAL STAGE- retention and expulsion of waste
o Phallic stage shifting libidinal concentration to the genitals
o Through sexual pleasures and fantasies the child is able to establish an emotional
relationship to their own body to other people as well.
o Oedipus complex process where the child learns to identify with the outside world.
o Intercedes on the mother/child union and dissolves the infants pleasureable and
sexual desire for the mother.
BOYS ARRIVAL of the father in the family unit signals a threat to sexual and
pleasurable union between the child and the mother. The boy will repress his
desires for the mother, into the newly formed unconscious because he FEARS
“castration” from the father. They learn to funnel these additional desires into
the unconscious throughout development
GIRLS the father has a powerful phallus, girls realize that they don’t own one.
The knowledge that she lacks a penis, causes her to have “penis envy” . This
causes her to reject her mother, and sexually desire her father, and the idea of
bearing him children
She does not fear castration and her oedipal stage is always shifting from
maternal and paternal identifications
- Lacan was interested in the causes of mental disorders and psychosis
- How the mind interacted with the culture at large.
- Mind fractures into conscious and unconscious aspects of the infants realization of reality
- The process is A RESULT OF individuals induction into systems of language than a process of
strictly sexual development
- Divided into the : real , imaginary and the symbolic
o REAL made up of things in the world that cannot be placed into words
The infant feels whole and connected to everything via the bond to the
Site of important development that Lacan refers to as the mirror stage: the child catches his
relection in the mirror and misrecognizes itself as autonomous and total whole
The mirror can be determined as the confirming gaze of another individual, such as another
infant or the mother.
By identifying with the image, the child begins to conceive of its own distinctness as a complete
identity and takes the first steps toward ego formation. It is the first time that the child recognizes the connection between objects and the outside
world and itself, and thereby establishes a link between outside images and individual
Ego/consciousness constr uction is complete when the subject acquires the use of language and
enters the SYMBOLIC REALM or the cultural plane of social meanings and relationships
Symbolic is analogous to the reality principle in psychoanalysis
In the ways that language structures, orders, and constrains the
impulse for the imaginary desire that continues to exist in the
Father’s phallus is not a sign of personal male sexual power, but
represents “The law of the Father” child is not afraid of father, but
rather, the father functions to usher in knowledge of social convention
and taboo for the child
Broken from the imaginary through the introduction of language and
social norms , the child is forced to construct a personal identity with
its new acquired language
- We are trapped where social order and language keep us from knowing or expressing pleasure
- Lack is the state of human existence.
Consciousness is actually an effect of language, and symbols because we are
forced to use them to articulate a consciousness or identity. WE CANNOT FULLY
ARTICULATAE all of our desires and pleasures using language or symbols
because many of these desires and pleasures are rooted in the Imaginary we
desperately yearn to experience again
- The Real - that which is outside language and resists symbolization absolutely
o The Real is “the impossible”
Impossible to imagine, impossible to integrate into the Symbolic, and
impossible to attain.
The Real has a traumatic quality and is the object of anxiety.
- The Imaginary: the gaze, the fantasy, the mirror, ideal-ego
- The Symbolic: signifiers, codes, language, law
- The Real: the unsymbolisable, the gap in representation
Freud Lacan Pre-Oedipal Stage