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'A Psychoanalytic (Lacanian) Approach to Constitutional Instability in Post-Colonial Ecuador'

Ecuador is known for its long-lasting history of political instability. Since independence (1830), this country has replaced its constitution 19 times. On average, Ecuadorians have supplanted their social contract every decade. How can we account for the character of constitutional instability in Ecuador? My presentation proceeds as follows. Firstly, I address the mainstream literature on constitutional instability in presidential Latin America, which focuses on philosophic, economic, and institutional approaches to constitutional volatility. I then propose a psychoanalytic (Lacanian) understanding of the ideological grip underpinning Ecuador’s constitutional instability. The psychoanalytically informed concept of messianic leadership as well as a Lacanian problematization of Freud’s myth on the origin of society guide my academic endeavour. A discourse analysis of the 1869 debates on armed rebellions and the social status of the indigenous population in postcolonial Ecuador sheds light on the nature of Ecuador’s constitutional instability.

Watch the seminar (link to Zoom recording).

Ernesto Espindola is a PhD Candidate in Government, University of Essex. He received his M.A. in Ideology and Discourse Analysis from Essex, his M.A. in Public Policy from Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (Ecuador), and his B.A. in Political Science from Universidad de Belgrano (Argentina). His academic interests lie in the intersection of political philosophy, Lacanian psychoanalysis and ideology in postcolonial contexts. His doctoral thesis addresses Ecuador’s long-lasting history of constitutional instability. He has published a book on the meaning of the tithe’s survival in nineteenth century Ecuador. Ernesto has worked as a public servant at the Ecuadorian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and at the Development Bank of Ecuador. (