CriticaLink | Lacan: The Mirror Stage | Terms


The German word Umwelt means "environment" or "surroundings". Lacan contrasts the term with Innenwelt-- the inner world--to emphasize the interaction between the imaginary interior space that the "I" occupies and the physical world in which the living human subject is situated. The connection between Innenwelt and Umwelt is, for Lacan, always dialectical; in the mirror stage, the "I" only comes into being through an association with an image that is outside of and other than the infant.