Psychoanalysis and the social bond


Comparative Studies of Ideas and Cultures (3rd level)

The Transformation of Modern Thought – Philosophy, psychoanalysis, culture

Course code: 24 

Year of study: Not specified

Course principal:
Prof. Alenka Zupančič, Ph.D.
Assoc. Prof. Peter Klepec, Ph. D.


Workload: lectures 60 hours, seminar 30 hours

Course type: general elective 

Languages: Slovene 

Learning and teaching methods: lectures, discussions classes 


Course syllabus


None required.


Content (Syllabus outline):

Fundamental concepts of psychoanalysis:

  • The unconscious
  • Drive
  • Repetition
  • Transference


Intersections of individual and social features:

  • Desire and its relation to the Other
  • Fantasy and the structure of reality
  • Sublimation and the problem of cultural values
  • The subjective and collective economy of enjoyment
  • Civilization and its discontents


Theory of four types of social bond:

  • Agent, truth, the Other, production
  • Subject, plus-de-jouir, knowledge, signifier
  • Permutations of the social bond


Psychoanalysis and contemporary approaches to analysis of the social bond:

  • Psychoanalysis and Marxism (Marx, Adorno, Althusser)
  • Badiou’s theory of four subjective figures
  • Foucault and his conceptualization of dispositif
  • Deleuze and the Nietzschean perspective



This list presents only basic required literature. Students will receive further reading lists for individual lessons and term projects.

  • Adorno, T. W., 1981. Freudovska teorija in struktura fašistične propagande. V: Psihoanaliza in kultura, Ljubljana: DZS.
  • Althusser. 2000. Ideologija in ideološki aparati države. V: Izbrani spisi, Ljubljana: cf.
  • Butler Judith, Laclau Ernesto, Žižek, Slavoj. 2000. Contingency, Hegemony, Universality, London & New York: Verso.
  • Clemens Justin, Russell Grigg ur. 2006. Jacques Lacan and the Other Side of Psychoanalysis (Sic 6), Durham & London: Duke University Press.
  • Deleuze, Gilles. 2000. Predstavitev Sacherja Masocha. V: Mazohizem in zakon, Ljubljana: Analecta: 11-100.
  • Badiou, Alain. 2005. 20. stoletje, Ljubljana: Analecta.
  • Foucault, Michel. 1991. Vednost – oblast – subjekt, Ljubljana: Krt.
  • Freud, Sigmund. 1987. Metapsihološki spisi, Ljubljana: Studia Humanitatis.
  • Freud, Sigmund. 1981. Množična psihologija in analiza jaza. V: Psihoanaliza in kultura, Ljubljana: DZS.
  • Lacan, Jacques. 1996. Štirje temeljni koncepti psihoanalize, Ljubljana: Analecta.
  • Lacan, Jacques. 2003. Narobna stran psihoanalize, Razpol 13 (Problemi 6-8).
  • Mannoni, Octave. 1993. »Saj vem, pa vendar…«. V: Filozofija skozi psihoanalizo VII., Ljubljana: Analecta.
  • Miller, Gérard. 1981. Jedro strukture dominacije. V: Psihoanaliza in kultura, Ljubljana: DZS.
  • Nietzsche, Friedrich. 1988. H genealogiji morale, Ljubljana: Slovenska matica.
  • Žižek, Slavoj. 1999. The Ticklish Subject. The Absent Centre of Political Ontology, London & New York.


Objectives and competences:

From its very beginnings, psychoanalysis has been more than just clinical practice. At many points, psychoanalysis has been connected to philosophy as well as some other, younger disciplines (especially linguistics), and it soon developed a complex conceptual apparatus, with which it significantly contributed to analysis of various social phenomena and practices. Psychoanalysis now occupies a prominent place among currents of twentieth-century thought; in addition to Freud, Jacques Lacan has contributed the most to development in this direction. This course acquaints students with some key concepts of psychoanalysis from two main perspectives. The first concerns research on the inner relationship between certain psychoanalytic concepts and philosophy (classical and contemporary), and the second investigates the links between psychoanalysis and its broader social context. In this part, the emphasis is on the past and possible future contributions of psychoanalysis to analysing various social practices forming a social bond and contributing to its ideological background. The lectures present Lacan’s theory of four social links or “discourses,” as well as an overview of other contemporary theories of the social bond in their specific features (e.g., Althusser, Adorno, Badiou, Foucault, and Deleuze). In addition to basic concepts of psychoanalysis and their links with other currents of thought, the students become acquainted with various ways of thinking and various aspects of the social bond with the help of the conceptual apparatus presented; they will be able to understand and analyse various discursive practices (art, religion, etc.) in relationship to the social context in which they appear.


Intended learning outcomes:

Students use the knowledge acquired in the course to write a piece of academic writing that can serve as a draft of a dissertation chapter or a research article.


Learning and teaching methods:

Types of learning/teaching:

  • Frontal teaching
  • Independent students work
  • e-learning


Teaching methods:

  • Explanation
  • Conversation/discussion/debate
  • Work with texts



  • 80 % Long written assignments
  • 20 % Final examination (written/oral).


Contemporary philosophy and modernist literature

Assist. Prof. Rok Benčin, Ph.D.,


Critical Aesthetics and Twentieth-Century Art

Prof. Aleš Erjavec, Ph. D. ,

Prof. Lev Kreft, Ph. D. ,


Formation of the Concepts

Assist. Prof. Aleš Bunta, Ph. D. ,

Assist. Prof. Tadej Troha, Ph. D. ,


German idealism and its consequences

Assoc. Prof. Frank Ruda, Ph. D. ,


Ideology and Philosophy

Assoc. Prof. Jan Völker, Ph. D. ,


Philosophy and Psychoanalysis

Prof. Jelica Šumič Riha, Ph. D.,


Philosophy and scientific revolution

Assoc. Prof. Matjaž Vesel, Ph.D.,


Psychoanalysis and the social bond

Prof. Alenka Zupančič, Ph.D.,

Assoc. Prof. Peter Klepec, Ph. D.,