At the risk of adding in a non-symposium related post, and in posting here what I would usually post at I Cite, I thought it worth introducing some of Zizek's remarks on psychoanalysis from Parallax View. (I'm rereading the book because I have to write a couple of reviews of it; I find it more interesting and compelling this time, perhaps now that I have more time to go through the details.) At any rate, Zizek argues that the focus of psychoanalysis is "the Social, the field of social practices and socially held beliefs." He points out, moreover, that this field
is not simply on a different level from individual experience, but something to which the individual himself has to relate, which the individual himself has to experience as an order which is minimally 'reified,' externalized.
This is important, I think, because it explains how psychoanalysis is not simply some kind of account of individual psyches, or individualized perceptions and patterns of thought, but an account of the the Social--of society in all its ruptures, tensions, ideologies, laws, desires, fantasies, and enjoyments--and how this Social level is inscribed within individuals. As Zizek writes,
this objective order of the social Substance exists only insofar as individuals treat it as such, relate to it as such.
In a way, for the version of lacanian theory that Zizek continues to develop (and not for the clinic), the individual is interesting only as a vehicle or host for larger social tensions, struggles, and formations. Psychoanalytic theory enables him to consider ideology, ethics, open secrets, and the like because these exist only insofar as they are materialized in the practices of subjects.