Isn’t it the case that if you situate yourself within the ‘early,’ ‘middle,’ or ‘later’ moment of Lacan’s teaching then you are already in a sense privileging the imaginary identification thesis of the ‘early’ Lacan – thus to situate oneself in a moment of his teaching is inadvertently to already privilege the imaginary.
To situate oneself within the ‘middle’ moment of his teaching is to emphasize the way in which the imaginary emerges out of a prior symbolic determination. Thus, the middle moment of the teaching emphasizes Lacan as a systematic and structuralist thinker, as a thinker who had a point to prove from beginning to end. Thus, the ‘middle’ period no doubt favours a sense of continuity between the periods, all held together by the work of Lacan.
But to situate oneself within the ‘late’ moment of Lacan’s teaching is to emphasize the universality of the limitations of these moments themselves. In other words, the endless attempt to construct imaginary and symbolic theoretical constructions was itself an attempt to overcome the traumatic contingency of the real.