CriticaLink | Lacan: The Mirror Stage | Terms


A term we use often in everyday conversations--we speak of ourselves or of children "identifying" with family members or with celebrities--identification is a complex psychological process over which the subject never has full control. In Lacanian terms, identification can be described as an example of captation, a process in which an object in the external world (most frequently another person) so "captivates" the subject that it becomes a component in that subject's self-image.

In Lacan's model of the development of the human psyche, the mirror stage, as the primordial experience of identification in which the infant is captated by the image of his or her own body, lays the groundwork for all subsequent identifications.