In the 21st century, a change is occurring. Through the term « patriarchy », it is no longer a question of the function of the Name-of-the-Father, the one that Lacan considered as a condition for the constitution of desire on the basis of consent to what is prohibited, but of something else. It is no longer a question of a revolt against traditional or political authority. The term « patriarchy » resonates with a critique of abuse. Everything is happening as if what remained of the father, of what Lacan named the « paternal function », emphasising its symbolic dimension, was the exercise of a domination of abuse. But what is this domination ? I will propose an interpretation of the critique of patriarchy, borrowing from Max Weber his formula for defining the State as a monopoly of legitimate violence. Can we not see in this « critique of patriarchy » a critique of another monopoly, the critique of the monopoly of legitimate jouissance ?
From the father of modesty to the father of abuse
The father figures, real or fictitious, occupying the forefront of the public, literary and cinematographic scene, are increasingly fathers of abuse. The father of modesty has given way to the abusive father. « Patriarchy » would be the name of this abuse, as if all that remained of the father in the 21st century was this abusive dimension. This is not to say that all fathers are « abusers », but that what remains of the syntagm of « father », in today’s language, expresses this stigma of abuse. Whether it be Christine Angot’s father lost and refound in incest in Le Voyage dans l’Est, Blandine Rinkel’s virile and violent father in Vers la violence, or the abusive father in Thomas Vinterberg’s Festen, it is the ferocity of an obscene jouissance that takes the stage. It is the instrumentalisation of the signifier « father » for the exercise of a jouissance, namely the symbolic contaminated by the drive.
Our moment was baptised the « post-paternal era » by Jacques-Alain Miller at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Following Lacan, who put forward the idea of a « scar, left by the father’s disappearance », could we not say that the term « patriarchy » expresses what remains of the father when he no longer embodies any symbolic dimension, but simply a power that he abuses ? In the name of this critique of patriarchy, a new prohibition is formulated, the prohibition of abuse.
A new extension of the prohibition of abuse, from the intimate to the Earth
Let us go a little further in this interpretation of the critique of patriarchy. Could we not see in the critique of the monopoly of legitimate jouissance not only a critique of abuse, but also a deeper questioning of a modern belief ? To conclude, I propose to articulate this critique of the monopoly of legitimate jouissance with the moment of ecology. For these are the two great discourses that invite a paradigm shift in the relationship to others and to the world. « Make us masters and possessors of nature », was Descartes’pronouncement, believing in the benefits of scientific and technical progress. Is the moment of ecology not the moment when there is a critique of the legitimacy of this formula ? If the post-paternal era opens up the need to invent other bonds, it also opens up a moment of lucidity with regard to the Cartesian programme. The new ethical demand emanating out of an ecological discourse is that we should no longer « make ourselves masters and abusers of nature ». Have not modern people abused nature, abused the planet, abused this place that does not belong to them and whose resources they exploit in order to achieve a surplus-enjoyment [plus-de-jouir] that knows no limits ?
If the reference to the father as a regulating authority is rejected, what can today be the compass, the point of reference that could limit unbridled enjoyment ? If we are to believe the philosopher Bruno Latour – to whom Mental, the journal of the EuroFederation of Psychoanalysis, pays tribute in a final interview – the central figure of our moment is henceforth Gaia, Earth. The central figure of our moment is this locus of habitat where the human being has to remain without giving in to the destructive drive. Not abusing bodies, not abusing the planet’s resources, being concerned with finding a limit to jouissance, at the moment when we no longer believe in the paternal function as legitimate, would be the challenge of the new era we are entering.
 Second part of the contribution by Leguil C., « Actualité de la psychanalyse. Critique du monopole de la jouissance légitime », Studio Lacan, n°42, 28th January 2023, available on the internet : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qD-iwMv7z3A.
 Cf. Weber M., Le savant et le politique, Paris, Poche, 2002.
 Angot C., Le Voyage dans l’Est, Flammarion, 2021.
 Rinkel B., Vers la violence, Fayard, 2022.
 Vinterberg T., Festen, film, Nimbus film, Danemark, 1998.
 Lacan J., « Note sur le père », La Cause du désir, n°89, 2015, p. 8. Translation by Russell Grigg, The Lacanian Review, « Segregation’s, Desire as Subversion of Identity », n°3, Spring, 2017, p. 11.
 Descartes R. Discourse on Method and Related Writings, 1637, tr. Desmond M. Clarke, Penguin Classics, 2003.
 « ‟Nous sommes des squatteurs alors que nous pensions être des propriétaires.” Rencontre avec Bruno Latour », Entretien réalisé par Hoornaert G., Leblanc-Roïc V., Roïc T., Mental, n°46, 2022, p. 81-96.
 Latour B., Où atterrir? Comment s’orienter en politique, Paris, La découverte, 2017.
Translation : Michele Julien
Proofreading : Robyn Adler