PS447      Half Unit
Psychoanalysis and Communication

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Derek Hook STC.312


This course is available on the MSc in Health, Community and Development, MSc in Media and Communications, MSc in Media and Communications (Research), MSc in Organisational and Social Psychology, MSc in Social Research Methods, MSc in Social and Cultural Psychology and MSc in Social and Public Communication. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

Lacanian psychoanalysis provides a valuable set of instruments for an understanding of the structures and dynamics underlying communicative activity. This course will introduce students to a series of relevant components within Lacanian theory - the distinction between enunciation and statement, the role of the 'big Other' as the third in every dialogue, Lacan's four structures of discourse - before exploring how these ideas might inform, extend and develop how we go about the analysis of communication. Specific content will include: Freudian dream theory and the analysis of popular advertising texts; jokes, slips of the tongue, and the role of the unconscious in everyday speech; the notion of the 'big Other' as the mediating third in every instance of dialogue; Lacan's four discursive structures or social links (emphasizing particularly political, governmental and university discourse); the functioning of Master signifiers and the transmission of knowledge; 'empty' versus 'full' speech; a psychoanalytic account of ideology.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 piece of coursework in the LT.

Indicative reading

A detailed reading list will be handed out at the beginning of the course.

B. Benvenuto, R. Kennedy, R. The Works of Jacques Lacan. An Introduction. London: Free Association (1986); M. Billig. Social psychology and intergroup relations, London: Academic Press (1976); R. Bocock, Sigmund Freud, London & New York: Routledge (1983); D. Evans, An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis, London and New York: Routledge (1992); R. Feldstein, B. Fink & M. Jaanus, M. Reading Seminars I and II. SUNY Press (1996); B. Fink, B. The Lacanian subject between language and jouissance, Princeton: Princeton University Press (1995); S. Freud, The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud, (Vol. 5 The interpretation of dreams; Vol 14, On narcissism; Mourning and melancholia; Vol. 19. The ego and the id). London, Vintage (2001); S. Freud. Mass psychology and other writings. London: Penguin (2004); S. Homer, Jacques Lacan, London & New York: Routledge (2005); S. Kay, Žižek: A critical introduction, Cambridge: Polity (2003); J. Lacan, J. Écrits, London: Tavistock (2006); R. Minsky, (1996). Psychoanalysis and Gender. London & New York: Routledge (1996); T. Myers, Slavoj Žižek. London & New York: Routledge (2003); J. Mitchell & J. Rose (Eds). Feminine sexuality. London: Norton (1982); S, Žižek, The sublime object of ideology, Verso: London (1989); S. Žižek, The plague of fantasies. London & New York: Verso; S. Žižek, Jacques Lacan: Critical evaluations in cultural theory, London: Verso (2003); S. Žižek, How to read Lacan, London: Granta (2006).


Essay (100%, 3000 words) in the ST.

Student performance results

(2009/10 - 2011/12 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 22.2
Merit 55.6
Pass 22.2
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Social Psychology

Total students 2012/13: 22

Average class size 2012/13: 9

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication

Course survey results

(2010/11 - 2012/13 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 78.2%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)