Video Out: The Dermic Drive

I had a wonderful time giving a talk at Lacan in Scotland this month. Not only was it an opportunity to discuss some of my latest theoretical developments, I also very much enjoyed the questions and debate that followed. Lacan in Scotland provides opportunities for engaging with Lacanian psychoanalysis and related theories in Scotland. It aims to bring together scholars, practitioners, researchers, students and the public involved or interested in psychoanalysis.

In the talk I discussed the way some psychoanalytic thinkers have linked autism and the onset of autism to the supposed experience of early disturbances in ‘skin function’. I mostly expanded this notion of ‘skin function’, exploring its relation to and confection in language. Conceiving the skin as a potential modality of the Freudian drive (Trieb) – the dermic drive – I tried to unpack how the different relations to and with the Other such a drive would instantiate allow fresh insights into our understandings of autism.

Here is the video from YouTube, I hope you enjoy it:

3 thoughts on “Video Out: The Dermic Drive”

  1. Hi there, Just wondering how I can access the full article mentioned that this talk is based on (in full or part)?


  2. This was wonderful and fascinating and thought-provoking. I’m in a masters program and just finished a presentation on body sensations and skin function in early development. Your description of how autism affects the three modalities of the dermic drive were particularly interesting to me, especially your description of the autistic experience of the 2nd modality and the oscillation between Big Other and I. It immediately sounded familiar, as another way to describe the ‘second skin’ and ‘adhesive identification’ experiences. When the patient is aligned with their perception of the Big Other, they ‘stick’ to an external object, much like how Bick and Meltzer describe adhesive identification; conversely, when the align with the I and withdraw into the ‘autistic shell,’ this seems to correspond to the thick skin (or hippopotamus skin, as Bick calls it) of the second skin formation. In general, I am very excited to see a Lacanian perspective on skin and look forward to diving into your work.


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