The Post-structuralist Self & the Psychoanalytic Self

In 20th century continental European philosophy, there was a profound reckoning with “identity” and the “self”. Thinkers like Foucault, Deleuze, Levinas and Derrida destabilized our notions of an autonomous self and in different ways showed how these notions are pervaded by difference and informed by the existence of the “other.” At the same historical moment, a new wave of psychoanalytic thinkers inspired by the work of French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan developed radical new theories about how the self is psychologically constituted. Both these interrelated traditions of inquiry problematized the notion of the liberal self and furthermore showed how clinging to it is the source of many personal and socio-political issues.