LacanOnline.com is a site for exploring psychoanalysis through the work of Jacques Lacan
Jacques Lacan was a French psychoanalyst, living 1901 - 1981.
Trained as a psychiatrist, he abandoned the profession in favour of psychoanalysis in the early thirties. After publishing his paper on the Mirror Stage in 1949, for which he is probably best known to the general public, in the early fifties Lacan embarked on a project he called the 'Return to Freud'.
Lacan began holding yearly seminars, starting in 1952, re-examining Freud's work. At the time, the theory and technique of psychoanalysis was facing a complete overhaul at the hands of post-Freudian psychoanalysts, many of whom had emigrated to the United States after the war. Lacan railed against their teaching of Freud, seeing it as an oversimplification of his work and a corruption of psychoanalytic technique reducing it to the status of life management. Through his seminars he offered another interpretation of Freud's work and psychoanalytic theory. Inventive, radical and adventurous, many still believe Lacan's to be a creative mis-reading of Freud.
However Lacan's seminars grew in popularity and as his teaching developed from a reading of Freud's text to an elaboration of his own concepts his teaching became more influential. Lacan continued to give yearly seminars until the year before his death in 1981. By that time, he had become a major intellectual figure in public life and had both created and disbanded his own school, separating his members both from the established psychoanalytic institutions and from each other.
Today, Lacanian theory is advanced by a number of disparate groupings of his followers and the technique of psychoanalysis he developed is practiced clinically by Lacanian analysts around the world.