The social bond of the group or culture writ large, for both Freud and Lacan, is predicated on something that exceeds simple social convention, contract, or historical mode of production. This is evinced, for Freud, by his myth of the primal horde and his notion of how groups cohere through a vertical, fantasmatic identification with any given leader and their connection with the dead Father. For his part, Lacan generated his theory of the four discourses as a structural—and, indeed, more plausible—account of how social relations are impossible yet work nevertheless. He mapped these on the basis of what Freud called the impossible professions: education, governance, and psychoanalysis. For Lacan, these are what he calls discourses, particularly the university discourse (education), the master’s discourse (governing), the analyst’s discourse (psychoanalysis, transforming or revolutionizing), and, Lacan adds, the hysteric’s discourse (desiring and protesting). The latter’s innovative addition is what I explore in this paper: how the hysteric makes and breaks institutions with their desire by “going on a kind of strike.” The social bond, for Lacan, is demonstrated most dramatically by the hysteric on strike; as he says, “A strike is the most social thing there is in the whole world. It represents fabulous respect for the social bond.” Herein, I elucidate the discursive power of the hysteric’s social bond, and how it offers a more thoroughgoing way to think of horizontal solidarity as an alternative to Freud’s leader-led patriarchal civilization.

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