It would be fair to say that there are few twentieth century thinkers who have had such a far-reaching influence on subsequent intellectual life in the humanities as Jacques Lacan (1901-1981).
A French psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, he was one of the founders of the French Psychoanalytic Society and later the founder of the École Freudienne de Paris (EFP).
Lacan’s “return to the meaning of Freud” profoundly changed the institutional face of the psychoanalytic movement internationally. His seminars in the 1950s were one of the formative environments of the currency of philosophical ideas that dominated French letters in the 1960s and’70s, and which has come to be known in the Anglophone world as “post-structuralism.” Both inside and outside of France, Lacan’s work has also been profoundly important in the fields of aesthetics, literary criticism and film theory. Through the work of Louis Pierre Althusser (and more lately Ernesto Laclau, Jannis Stavrokakis and Slavoj Zizek), Lacanian theory has also left its mark on political theory, and particularly the analysis of ideology and institutional reproduction.