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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Jouissance in an evermore stressful world

This paper argues that despite stress being an important phenomena in modern work environments there are a number of deficiencies in mainstream research in this area. Some of these problems, the authors assert, could be overcome by attending more closely to the engagement of subjects of stress in the context of their relations with their fellows and the organizations in which they work. The authors argue that modern psychoanalysis and particularly Lacanian thought provides one means of achieving this more complete picture. This paper proposes the specific concept of jouissance as a means of enriching our understanding of stress and illustrates the benefit of such an approach by scrutinizing accounts of stress provided in interview through such a lens. The authors concentrate on three features of jouissance in relation to stress: its ability to allow a focus on a misfit between the person and the environment; its ability to allow progress beyond the binary and the stable; and the organizing role of surplus/deficit of jouissance. The paper represents work in progress.