In this context, the bar is the line that separates the signifier from the signified (in the Saussurean algorithm), and stands for the resistance inherent in signification which is only crossed in metaphor.
used by Jacques Lacan in the context of a discussion of Saussure's concept of the sign, refers to the line that separates the signifier from the signified (in the Saussurean algorithm) and stands for the resistance inherent in signification which is only crossed in metaphor.
Not long after the 1957 paper in which the term first appears, in the seminar of 1957-8, Lacan goes on to use the bar to strike through his algebraic symbols S and A in a manner reminiscent of Heidegger's practice of crossing out the word 'being' (see Heidegger, 1956). The bar is used to strike through the S to produce, S, the 'barred subject'.
The bar here represents the division of the subject by language, the SPLIT.
Thus whereas before 1957 S designates the subject (e.g. in schema L), from 1957 on S designates the signifier and S designates the (divided) subject. The bar is also used to strike through the A (the big Other) to produce the algebraic notation for the 'barred Other', A . However, Lacan continues to use both signs in his algebra (e.g. in the graph of desire). The barred Other is the Other insofar as it is castrated, incomplete, marked by a lack, as opposed to the complete, consistent, uncastrated Other, an un-barred A, which does not exist.
The definite article in French indicates universality, and by crossing it out Lacan illustrates his thesis that femininity is resistant to all forms of generalisation (see S20, 68). In addition to these functions, the bar can also be interpreted as the symbolic phallus (which itself is never barred), as the symbol of negation in theformulae of sexuation (see SEXUAL DIFFERENCE), and as the trait unaire (see IDENTIFICATION).
- Lacan, Jacques. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book XX: Encore, On Feminine Sexuality, The Limits of Love and Knowledge 1972-1973. Trans. Bruce Fink. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1998. pp. 33-34
Anyway, between the two, S and s, there is a bar, S/s.
[...] The bar, like everything involving what is written, is based only on the following - what is written is not to be understood.
That is why you are not obliged to understand my writings. If you don't understand them, so much the better - that will give you the opportunity to explain them.
It's the same with the bar. The bar is precisely the point at which, in every use of language, writing (écrit) may be produced. If, in Saussure's work itself, S is above s, that is, over the bar, it is because the effects of the unconscious have no basis without this bar - that is what I was able to show you in "The Instance of the Letter," included in my Écrits, in a way that is written (qui s'écrit), nothing more.
Indeed, were it not for this bar nothing about language could be explained by linguistics. Were it not for this bar above which there are signifiers that pass, you could not see that signifiers are injected into the signified