The American Journal of Psychoanalysis

, Volume 65, Issue 4, pp 367–379 | Cite as

Society’s Symbolic Order and Political Trials: Toward Sacrificing the Self for the “Big Other”

  • Avi Lubin


The need to establish a borderline between legitimate and illegitimate political trial is one of the central societal discourses. In this paper the author claims that the issues are complex and that a political trial can remain legitimate as long as it is not dealing with a confrontation with the symbolic order on which the society (and the court itself) is founded and as long as the subject (or action) it is dealing with does not threaten the symbolic order’s (or the “Big Other”) existence. When the symbolic order’s existence is in danger, the court is bound to participate in an act of “sacrifice” that is intended to protect the “order.” The author uses Jacques Lacan’s psychoanalytic theory of the “Big Other” (and its development to ideological-political terms) in examining three categories of sacrifice. Through these categories the author claims that in extreme cases of confrontation with the existence of the symbolic order, the court cannot remain objective and it would be difficult to justify the trial as legitimate (especially in historical perspective).


Lacan symbolic order sacrifice political trials Har-Shefi 


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Copyright information

© Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tel-Aviv University Tel-AvivIsrael

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