Agents of law: Psychoanalytic perspective on parenthood practices as socially accepted violence

Efrat Even-Tzur, Uri Hadar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper presents a theoretical model of parental authority from the vantage point of parental subjecthood, using a roughly Lacanian formulation of what it means to take a (parental) subject position. For Freud, the parental role involves the acceptance of social rules that may, at times, involve a socially acceptable degree of violence. Nevertheless, psychoanalytic discussions have disregarded the parents’ subjective experience as agents of the Law and purveyors of threatening authority. The authors elaborate on Freud’s and Lacan’s ideas and delineate several prime types of parental identifications as agents of Law. The Lacanian theoretical constructs expanded in this discussion include two basic parental positions of authority, termed the Symbolic Father and the Imaginary Father, and one derivative position, called the Perverse Father, which are demonstrated through the story of Dr. Moritz Schreber. The paper discusses how these theoretical constructs bear upon the philosophical conceptualizations of law, violence, and legitimacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-86
Number of pages22
JournalPsychoanalytic Review
Volume104
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

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