Science and religion are different domains. Science invokes reason and aims for a universal knowledge that can be applied to various fields. The imperative to universalize matters less than the deployment of reason. Politics was first established as a science. The Greeks used to refer to politics as the “Master Science” because “politics determines the environment within which every person will organize his life. No one can escape from the parameters set by politics […] Politics is the control room of all human activities.”[1]

Throughout history, there have been different definitions of political science. Modern definitions include notions of power, values, and social control. For example, there is the definition proposed by Andrew Heywood: “Politics can be defined as an activity through which people make, preserve and amend the general rules under which they live.”[2] Though psychoanalysis engages with the most uncivilized human trait of jouissance, it is a human activity in that it relies on the social bond. Lacanian psychoanalysis in particular attends to the singular in each speaking being, so how could it not be concerned with the current political events that are jeopardizing democracy and the very conditions in which the practice of psychoanalysis is possible?

There is a necessary link between democracy and politics as science; “the real significance of political science as a study in a democracy lies in its value as the means of developing an electorate informed by questions of government. Without such a trained electorate, no democracy can endure.”[3] Are citizens participating in current elections from this position of an “informed electorate” or as ‘believers’? Does politics still maintain its status as a science? At least in the U.S., the new abortion restrictions are a good example of how political arguments are based more on religious beliefs than any call to reason or accounting for the reality of those who are most affected by these restrictions.

We may consider that the existence of religion relies on the blindness of the dogma of faith as the key to sustaining itself. For example, Foucault takes “Christianity as a succession of forms of power, but even more as a library of genres for speech that projects figures to be inhabited.” Following Nietzsche’s position, Foucault considers Christianity as a “rhetorical provocation”, distinguishing itself by how it arranges languages and practices—teachings and rituals—to control this world and the bodies in it.”[4] In this sense, the religious discourse is quite capable of ensuring “We the people” remain asleep.

If politics now follows the path of religion rather than the principles of science, then is it still possible to appeal to reason or even debate questions of political science? Many make their decisions for who to vote for based on an imaginary trait. They “identify” with the person more than they agree with their policies. Therefore, this figure becomes a savior or an enemy rather than a candidate who runs for office and is nominated by the electorate. We could say that contemporary politics is about traits of jouissance that voters identify with or against. A former U.S. presidential candidate once said “I could … shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters”[5] and he was right, he didn’t lose any voters. Instead, he became President and installed a style in American politics that now we see replicated in many other politicians.

Are we witnessing what Lacan affirmed in The Triumph of Religion? Since the real is outpacing science, religion will have ever greater opportunities “to calm down the hearts.” Psychoanalysis won’t triumph over religion, and the question we may ask, with Lacan, is whether psychoanalysis “will survive or not.”[6] We could consider this movement from science to religion a response to the discontent inhabiting civilization today.

[1] Gahatraj, D. Political science: Nature and scope and it’s relation to law p. 1.

[2] James, H.G. The meaning and scope of political science. The Southwestern Political Science Quarterly, June, 1920, Vol. 1, No. 1 (June, 1920), pp. 3-16. Stable URL: , p. 6

[3] Ibid.



[6] Lacan, J. The triumph of religion, Polity Press, 2013.