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French: [[project|projection]]

Projection is a defence mechanism in which an internal desire/thought/feeling is displaced and located outside the subject, in another subject.

In a general sense, the term projection denotes an operation that consists in the displacement of something from one space to another, or from one part of a single space to another.

Cutting off what the superego perceives as "bad" aspects of oneself (e.g. weakness or homosexual desire) and projecting them onto someone else "over there" where they can be condemned, punished, etc..

For example a person who has been (or who feels) unfaithful to his partner may defend himself against feelings of guilt by accusing the partner of being unfaithful.

Sigmund Freud

Freud and many other psychoanalysts use the term "projection" to describe a mechanism which is present (to differing degrees) in both psychosis and neurosis.

Jacques Lacan

Lacan understands the term "projection" as a purely neurotic mechanism and distinguishes it clearly from the apparently similar phenomenon that occurs in psychosis (which Lacan calls foreclosure).

Whereas projection is rooted in the imaginary dual relationship between the ego and the counterpart,[1] foreclosure goes beyond the imaginary and instead involves a signifier which is not incorporated in the symbolic.


Lacan also rejects the view that introjection is the inverse of projection, arguing that these two processes are located on quite different levels.

Whereas projection is an imaginary mechanism, introjection is a symbolic process.[2]

See Also
  1. Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar. Book III. The Psychoses, 1955-56. Trans. Russell Grigg. London: Routledge, 1993. p. 145
  2. Lacan, Jacques. Écrits. Paris: Seuil, 1966. p. 655