Refuting the view now prevailing in social anthropology, the article seeks to offer a new outlook on relations between psychoanalysis and the individualistic shaping of values that characterizes modern Western society. According to current social anthropology, psychoanalysis embodies the promise of recouping a wholeness lost as a result of the world’s process of de-sanctification. The self is seen as constituting this new wholeness value, while psychoanalysis, insofar as it proposes redemption through the self, is viewed as a modern religion with individualistic effects. In questioning this vision, the article offers as a counterpoint the idea that the Lacanian formalization of the subconscious through symbolic structure overcomes the dichotomy between subject and society. This leads Lacan to assert that analysis should lead the subject to dedicate his or herself to guaranteeing the workings of the great Other, which is understood to mean that psychoanalysis should lead the subject to assume his or her responsibility for the workings of the symbolic structure.
psychoanalysis and individualism; psychoanalysis and anthropology; subject and symbolic structure; great Other