‘Officers, Maids & Chimneysweepers’ by Mladen Dolar


The genus of human and political rights encounters in Bentham its particular species, or rather an individual instance, which with a single stroke jeopardises everything. S. Freud, who spent so much time and effort trying to figure out what does it mean to be a man or a woman, has also actually occasionally written about chimneysweepers. The properly psychoanalytic step is made with J. Lacan’s bold thesis that this element is phallic by its nature, so that the chimneysweepers’ appendage has to be brought together with the contingent bodily appendage. Talking cure is the way how to enlist the forces of the unconscious to work against the logocentric focus on meaning, while chimney-sweeping aims at an elaboration of sexuality that would escape the phallocentric logic.