LAMELLA zine issue #1 is out and available in print and soon in digital version.
The LAMELLA zine is an annual publication bringing together the work of the members of Lacanian Affinities Berlin (laLAB). The zine contains fabrications, ruminations, and critiques revolving around the group’s ongoing work. Its aim is to disseminate psychoanalytic knowledge in a format that challenges disciplinary boundaries.
This issue of LAMELLA is a product of the group’s reading of Lacan’s Seminar XX: Encore (1972-1973) on the subject of feminine jouissance. Here’s a dictionary definition brought to you by laLAB.
feminine jouissance | ʒwisɑ̃s |
The French word jouissance is frequently translated as “enjoyment” but also has a second connotation that is translated as “orgasm” (jouir). According to Jacques Lacan, jouissance (enjoyment) cannot be understood as pleasure. In fact, the pleasure principle is exactly what attempts to puts a limit on jouissance. Therefore, Lacan argues that “beyond the pleasure principle” one does not only experience pleasure but also an unbearable pleasure, a “painful pleasure” that Lacan calls jouissance.
Jouissance, in so far as it is determined by the limits of the pleasure principle, is essentially phallic, that is, sexually determined by masculine libido. This generic type of jouissance is available to masculine and feminine subjects.
In his late teaching, Lacan argued that there is also an exclusively feminine jouissance that goes “beyond the phallus”. Also called, the “jouissance of the Other”, feminine jouissance is generally described as being ineffable: a jouissance that is experienced but is not wholly determined by language and is therefore not generalizable.
This is why Lacan argued that “there is no Woman”—in French il n’y a pas La femme. In other words, he contended that, based on psychoanalytic experience, there is no way to capture The (La) essence of “womanness” in terms of enjoyment, for every instance of feminine jouissance is essentially singular.