Organizational Lack or Identity: A Lacanian Perspective on Ken Kesey's One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest

Alireza Kargar, Hassan Abootalebi


The present study attempts to address gaps in research on whether authorities
in a given community establish an organizational identity or lack. It does so
by developing a psychoanalytic perspective. In particular, this study employs
the Lacanian notion of the Symbolic to explore how the dominant class of a
society forms imaginary constructions of subjectivity in Ken Kesey's One Flew
over the Cuckoo's Nest. Kesey's novel, this study illustrates, validates conscious but
illusory constructions of the self through the imposing yet highly unconscious
and profound impacts of the Symbolic initiated by language acquisition. Upon
the arrival of a new patient named Randle Patrick McMurphy, however, the
authorities' hegemony is inevitably disrupted by unconscious subjectivity and
invariably fails. Therefore, the fragmented, dynamic, and emergent organizational
identity constructed by the dominant social ideologies aligned with the Symbolic
is inevitably supplanted by organizational lack through the appreciation of social
ideologies' delusion. However, since the Symbolic is intolerant of any primacy
of thoughts resulting in transgression, McMurphy, the protagonist and the true
incentive of this organizational subversion, is terribly treated and jettisoned. Such
is how officials in communities shun and suppress any threat from iconoclasts
and go to every extreme to keep people ignorant. While such identity can be
illusory and (self-)destructive, it also provides the opportunity for liberating the
self from the mirage of identity.

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ISSN: 2012-0788