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NCJ Number: 167210 Find in a Library
Title: Towards a Theory of Punishment in the Psychiatric Courtroom: On Language, Law, and Lacan
Journal: Journal of Crime and Justice  Volume:19  Issue:1  Dated:(1996)  Pages:15-32
Author(s): B A Arrigo
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 18
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The conceptual tools of Jacques Lacan's psychoanalytic semiotics are discussed and applied to the dynamic process of decisionmaking in the courtroom that is adjudicating a mentally ill offender.
Abstract: The discussion examines the structure and operation of language described as clinicolegal and outlines a theory of punishment. It notes that Lacan developed and revised the full breadth of his psychoanalytic semiotics in seminar fashion from the 1950's through the 1970's. The central ideas relevant to the psychiatric courtroom are his ideas on the intrapsychic and intersubjective processes that enable discourse to be conceived and subsequently uttered. These overlapping and interdependent unconscious mechanisms include paradigm-syntagm, condensation-displacement, and metaphor-metonymy. The analysis suggests that disciplinary practices necessarily originate in our selection of language. Thus, even before the court process unfolds in the psychiatric courtroom and even before the trial or hearing outcome is rendered, only certain expressions of desire will be given legitimacy, while certain others will be oppressed. 85 references (Author abstract modified)
Main Term(s): Court procedures
Index Term(s): Competency to stand trial; Criminally insane persons; Mentally ill offenders; Psychiatric testimony
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