About The Other Side of Bio-politics. A Writing for Jouissance, by Éric Laurent.[1]


The Other Side of Bio-politics,[2] a title too Foucauldian? That was my question for a moment. But in reading the introduction of Éric Laurent’s book, I understood this title as the quilting point of our time that would come to fix, to name, the symptomatic real.

The title appeared to me at first as an extension of Michel Foucault’s invention in 1974 in Rio de Janeiro, of the neologism, bio-politic, to define the integration of living in the discourses, in the empire of technology and the exercise of power, but the introduction of Éric Laurent operates a subversion of bio-politics, in the style of Lacan from “move yourself out of there that I put myself there [pousse-toi de là que je m’y mette, donc]”[3]. This subversion consists in a substitution. Thus Jacques -Alain Miller points out that ”[…] the substitution of the Lacanian parlêtre for the Freudian unconscious – fixes down a scintillation.” And he invites us to “take it as an index of what is changing in psychoanalysis in the twenty-first century, when it has to take into account an other symbolic order and an other real besides those upon which it was established.”[4] What changes for the psychoanalyst is the analysis of the parlêtre. What changes for the parlêtre is that he speaks with the lalangue of the body, which is [of the order of] jouissance. What changes for the jouissance of the sinthome is that it has no Other Side – however it grapples with the imperatives that make the discontent of our century. What changes for bio-politics is that “the unconscious is political.”[5] Éric Laurent analyses all of the consequences.

The Other Side of Bio-politics is therefore a resolutely Lacanian title. In reading this book, one understands that bio-politics is based on the denial of the experience of jouissance, which psychoanalysis precisely deals with, by welcoming the unpredictable jouissance that escapes all calculation, that anguishes the body and marks it in a traumatic way that is always singular. Bio-politics lies in the techniques of the body and their management: the more idolatry there is, the more images there are, the more fragile bodies are, the more the real is incalculable …

Jouissance before the image

Éric Laurent emphasises the relationship to jouissance before the image. He insists on the teaching of Lacan, on the body event that happens to a body taken in language and that does not amount to any individualism. In 1970, in The Other Side of Psychoanalysis, Lacan wrote, “[w]hat I have been teaching, ever since I have been developing something about psychoanalysis, could well be called The Story of Half a Subject[6]. Inassimilable in any genesis whatsoever, The Story of Half a Chicken,[7] the tale of Jean Macé, was Lacan’s first reading book.[8] It shows the division of the subject that Lacan situates topologically in L’Etourdit.[9] The Moebius strip (circle of life) is equal to the cut, that is, this event in the speaking body. In Lituraterre, Lacan took up the challenge to produce the singular: “it is to reproduce the peerless other half through the subject subsists.”[10]

Without this mark in the body, this loss of body, there is no possibility that jouissance can recover it in speech: consequently, no knowledge concerning the experience of jouissance bodies and therefore no possible new anchoring of the relationship of the subject to his body. This introduction “Between void and images” gives food for thought and the desire to go further in the book, to progress in order to know what it is all about.

Disturbance in lalangue

A writing for jouissance, sub-titles the work – to our address, to the address of the psychoanalyst, of the “LOM” of the 21st century, the artist and also of the analysand – invites an effort of poetry in the practice of interpretation, in its aim: the extraction of the real in language, departing from speech. The psychoanalyst finds there the support that gives moteriality, the letter; it appears as a “logical disturbance[11]” in the lalangue of bodies. Disturbance, bright definition of the letter by the author!

Contrary to individualism, the Analysts of the School (AS)[12] by their testimony demonstrate what an experience of jouissance adds to speech and the social bond: the sinthome, a new anchor in the definition of psychoanalyst. What is it to have a body? “It feels, and once felt, it is demonstrated.”[13]



Translated by Joanne Conway











[1] This text was published in Lacan Quotidien issue no. 575, 12th April , 2016.

[2] Laurent É., [The Other Side of Biopolitics.A writing for jouissance. Not In English]. L’Envers de la biopolitique. Une écriture pour la jouissance Paris, Navarin / Le Champ freudien, 2016.

[3] Lacan

J., Joyce the symptom [Joyce le Symptôme (1976)], Autres écrits, Paris, Seuil, 2001, p. 565-566.

[4] Miller J.-A., The Unconscious and the Speaking Body, in Scilicet. Speaking Body. On the Unconscious in the 21st  Century, A New Lacanian School Publication, Paris 2015, p. 35.

[5] Lacan J., Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book XIV, The logic of the fantasy, lesson of the 10th May, 1967, unpublished.

[6] Lacan J., The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book XVII, The Other Side of Psychoanalysis, R. Grigg (trans.), Norton & Co. London: New York, 2007, p.55..

[7] Text available on the internet.

[8] Cf. Lacan J., The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book XVII, The Other Side of Psychoanalysis, op. cit., p. 55.

[9] Lacan J., L’étourdit, Autres écrits, op. cit.p. 470.

[10] Lacan J., Lituraterre, B. Khiara-Foxton and A. Price (trans.) in Hurly Burly, No. 9, New Lacanian School, Paris, 2013, p. 35.

[11] Laurent É., L’Envers de la biopolitique. Une écriture pour la jouissance, op. cit., p. 25.

[12] Cf. Laurent É., L’Envers de la biopolitique. Une écriture pour la jouissance, op. cit., p. 209-213.

[13] Lacan J., Joyce the Symptom, [Joyce le Symptôme], op. cit., p. 565. 13 Cf. Laurent É., Lacanian lectures. To Speak  lalangue of the body, teaching provided wihtin the framwork of l’École de la Cause freudienne in 2014-2015, available for listening on the Radio Lacan website.