Lacan's Early Work: Jouissance As Pleasure
Lacan's first use of the term jouissance can be found in the seminar of 1953–1954, where it appears just twice (1998, pp. 205 and 223) and is used only in relation to Hegel's dialectic of the master and the slave. Here Lacan equates jouissance with pleasure, noting the "relation between pleasure [ jouissance ] and labour" and notes that "a law is imposed upon the slave, that he should satisfy the desire and pleasure [ jouissance ] of the other" (1998, p. 223). Until Seminar IV (1956–1957), jouissance as simply "pleasure" is Lacan's only and infrequent use of the term.
In his early work, Lacan's notion of jouissance, although not a Freudian term, has parallels to Freud's concept of the drive. After 1957, the sexual connotations of the word move to the forefront, and in 1958 he first uses jouissance to refer explicitly to orgasm. Thus, in 1958, Lacan speaks of "masturbatory jouissance," which he attributes to the phallic stage and the "imaginary dominance of the phallic attribute" (1977, p. 282).
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