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Having A Life by Lewis A. Kirshner

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5 The Objet Petit a

It is a question of this privileged object. . . around which the drive moves, of that object that arises in a bump, like the wooden darning egg in the material which, in analysis, you are darningthe objet a.

—JACQUES LACAN

IN CHAPTER 4, I MADE BRIEF REFERENCE TO THE CONCEPT OF THE OBJET petit a (object small a) in describing the fantasy structure underlying important enactments. Here, I further develop this idea in relation to the theme of sustaining a subjective identity—of having a separate life. Like many of Lacan's concepts, the objet petit a is elusive in its meaning and referent and seems to take on different functions over the course of his work. My purpose is not to attempt to resolve or explicate these difficulties ...

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