Knowing you, knowing me: Identity, agency and the analyst’s discourse in the context of a South African university classroom

  • Sharon Rudman


Language, as discourse, largely determines one’s perception of the world, includingu one’s own identity and the identity of others. As a subject of discourse, one is generally unaware of the manner in which ideological assumptions dictate one’s thoughts and actions. It is only when underlying ideological tenets are made explicit that one is given the opportunity to evaluate the validity of such assumptions and, if desired, reposition oneself with regard to the discoursal context. The role of the analyst, explains Lacan, is to facilitate a journey of exposure in which the analysand is made aware of pertinent issues influencing their thought processes and behaviour, thus allowing them to assume agency in dealing with them. Along with Lacan, this article argues that the analyst’s discourse can be initiated in the context of a larger group – in this case, a first-year university classroom. Student reflections accurately reflect that – as Lacan suggests – individuals as subjects of discourse are able to reposition themselves with regard to influential discourses in their contexts. The example discussed in this article proves that this process of change can be facilitated through activating the discourse of the analyst through the strategic compilation of a module or programme. 


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-9461
print ISSN: 1607-3614