Why Theory brings continental philosophy and psychoanalytic theory together to examine cultural phenomena.
Ryan and Todd explore the concept of retroactivity or Nachträglichkeit from its development in Hegel's philosophy to its pivotal status as the basis for freedom in Slavoj Zizek's thought. In between, they discuss how Freud, Lacan, and Laplanche each deploy this central theoretical concept and trace its political implications.
Ryan and Todd finish their three-episode examination of Freud's structural theory of the psyche with a focus on the id. They discuss the lack of discussion of the id among theorists and try to fill this lacuna. They then explore its cultural resonance.
In this second in a series of three episodes, Ryan and Todd discuss the trajectory of the concept of the ego from Freud to Lacan. They investigate how Lacan's critique of the ego reshapes psychoanalytic thinking by distancing the subject from ego.
In this episode, Ryan and Todd trace the development of the concept of the superego from Freud's invention of it in the Ego and the Id to Jacques Lacan's development of it through his seminars to Slavoj Zizek's theorizing of it as a political category. They examine the link between superego and social authority, focusing on the role that enjoyment plays in superegoic logic.
Dialectic of Enlightenment
Ryan and Todd analyze the presuppositions and argument of Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer's Dialectic of Enlightenment. They challenge the conception of dialectic that the book proffers and its general condemnation of the culture industry by examining cases that illustrate the culture industry's failures.
Introduction to Biopower
Ryan and Todd explore the notion of biopower, as first advanced by Michel Foucault and then developed by Giorgio Agamben. They discuss how biopower relates to Marxism and to the dialectical understanding of the law.