Event date and location: 23 February 2023, Online (Zoom)

This Lacan in Scotland seminar “‘How the ‘Objet a’ Takes the Object Out of Desire” took place on Zoom on Thursday 23 February 2023. Dr Todd McGowan discusses French psychoanalyst’s Jacques Lacan’s concept of ‘objet a’ in relation to desire. It is chaired by Dr Calum Neill (Director of Lacan in Scotland) and is followed by a discussion with the audience.


0:00 – Intro
01:26 – Presentation
44:07 – Discussion with Calum Neill
49:38 – Q&A with the audience


Jacques Lacan once claimed that the objet a was his one invention. It certainly indicates his originality as a thinker. This talk will trace the development of this concept and investigate how it enables him to think desire in a way that goes beyond both Hegel and Freud, two of the paradigmatic theorists of desire before Lacan. The objet a dissociates desire from satisfaction through obtaining an object and instead links desire’s satisfaction to the obstacle that forms around its object.

TODD MCGOWAN is professor of film studies at the University of Vermont. His previous Columbia University Press books are The Impossible David Lynch (2007), Capitalism and Desire: The Psychic Cost of Free Markets (2016), and Emancipation After Hegel: Achieving a Contradictory Revolution (2019). He is the coeditor of the Diaeresis series at Northwestern University Press with Slavoj Žižek and Adrian Johnston.

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