Jacques Lacan and Tiresias: The other sexual difference.
Refereed Article, 2018
Cavanagh, S. L. (2018a). Bracha L. Ettinger, Jacques Lacan and Tiresias: The other sexual difference. Sitegeist: A Journal for Psychoanalysis and Philosophy, 13, 32–50.
This article asks what psychoanalysis would look like had it been conceptualized from a Tiresian, as opposed to an Oedipal, perspective. Using Israeli feminist psychoanalytic theorist, Bracha L. Ettinger’s (2006a) work on the matrixial borderspace, I show how there is an Other axis of sexual difference that conjures-up a transgender sex specific difference of relevance to trans studies and psychoanalysis. Ettinger’s theory of the matrixial is a critical supplement to Jacques Lacan’s work on Feminine sexuality where he, admittedly, has difficulty conceptualizing the Feminine dimension. There is a tendency in Lacanian psychoanalysis to theorize trans subjectivity in terms of psychosis. Moreover, some Lacanians view the Woman to be in closer proximity to psychosis than the man. My application of Ettinger’s theorizing to Tiresias and ultimately, to trans sex specific theorizing, offers a way to think about gender variance and the Feminine in relation to an Other (non-phallic) axis of difference. Psychoanalytic theorists need to invest in non-Oedipal characters and myths, particularly those involving trans characters, to cultivate trans-positive and ultimately feminist analytic discussion and debate.