- 1901-1981. Parisian born. Studied psychiatry and psychoanalysis after medicine. 1963 – École Pratique des Hautes Etudes. Founded École Freudienne de Paris—major school of psychoanalysis since 1960s.
- This work is “Lacan’s most famous concept” (343).
- “Child observes herself in a mirror and imagines herself more whole than any individual ‘I’ could possibly be” (Lemert 2010, 343).
- Children, even when lower in intelligence than chips, can recognize self in the mirror.
- “Indicated in the illuminative mimicry of the Aha-Erlebnis” (Köhler) (Lacan 1949, 343).
- “Expression of situational apperception” (Lacan 1949, 343).
- Apperception: “the mental process by which a person makes sense of an idea by assimilating it to the body of ideas he or she already possesses; fully conscious perception” (N.O. 2nd ed., 2005).
- The child learns/discovers through analyzing relations between “movements assumed” and what is reflected” (Lacan 1949, 343).
- Movements assumed = real subject.
- Children are unable to do anything else—walk, speak, stand, etc.—but can still participate in interactive mirror analysis.
- Beginning at six months, this mirror interaction can occur.
- The age of six to eighteen months is associated with “libidinal dynamism” (Lacan 1949, 343).
- Libidinal: “the energy of the sexual drive as a component of the life instinct” (N.O. 2nd ed., 2005).
- The mirror stage is an “identification” stage (Lacan 1949, 344).
- The imago is the transformation of the subject as he evolves into/reflects image (mirrored image).
- Mirror stage is indicative of a time in a child’s life when “I” has not been fully formed nor objectified.
- The “Ideal-I” is a secondary identification associated with libidinal normalization functions.
- Regards the ego, the out of control, barbaric insatiable urges.
- “Gestalt” is “more constituent that constituted” (Lacan 1949, 344), meaning it is a piece more than it is a larger whole that is made of pieces.
- The movements associated with gestalt are of the mirrored image and animate the subject.
- Is a symbol of “mental permanence of the I“ (Lacan 1949, 344).
- Simultaneously, it (the gestalt) has alienating abilities.
LACAN, JACQUES. 1949. "The Mirror Stage." Pp. 343-344 in Social Theory: The Multicultural Readings (2010) edited by C. Lemert. Philadelphia: Westview Press.
Original source: LACAN, JACQUES. 1949. Pp. 1-3 and 172-175 in Écrits: A Selection. New York: Taylor and Francis, 1977.
(See Lemert 2010, 343 for “original source” citation*)