News – July 2014
The above quote comes from a 1974 interview Lacan gave to the journalist Emilio Granzotto for the Italian magazine Panorama. The interview, previously unpublished in English, was widely circulated in July after it appeared on the site of one of Lacan’s English publishers, Verso.
It is a rare example of Lacan giving an account of psychoanalysis in plain terms to be read by a lay audience, and is all the more valuable for that fact.
In it he gives a description of psychoanalysis as a symptom “that reveals the malaise of the society in which we live.” Psychoanalysis is not a philosophy – “I abhor philosophy” – a faith, or a science. Instead, Lacan defines it quite cleanly as a practice, “and it is concerned with whatever is not going right.”
What this reveals is a key feature of Lacan’s approach to psychoanalysis, characterised by an unwillingness to allow standardised definitions to be imposed on the field. We see this same outlook elsewhere in the interview in regard to his view on the individual. Again, Lacan shows the same steely resistance to pocket subjectivity into anything that would reduce its absolute singularity, as the following exchange makes clear:
Lacan: First off, let’s get rid of this average Joe, who does not exist. He is a statistical fiction. There are individuals, and that is all. When I hear people talking about the guy in the street, studies of public opinion, mass phenomena, and so on, I think of all the patients that I’ve seen on the couch in forty years of listening. None of them in any measure resembled the others, none of them had the same phobias and anxieties, the same way of talking, the same fear of not understanding. Who is the average Joe: me, you, my concierge, the president of the Republic?
The full interview can be read on Verso’s site here. Many thanks to David Broder for translating it from the French original, published in a 2004 special edition of Le Magazine Littéraire, which can be read here.
The New Lacanian School last month announced the launch of its e-cartels – small study groups led by a ‘Plus One’ that work on a specific theoretical or clinical problem together – for the academic year 2014-2015. These will extend beyond the groups and societies of the NLS itself and are open to work on any subject towards the theme of the next NLS Congress, ‘Moments of Crisis’, in Geneva on 9th-10th May 2015. A list of the current cartels that have been submitted is here and those interested can submit their own on the NLS’s site here.
An English translation of Gil Caroz’s paper ‘Moments of Crisis’, which he presented as the theme of the next NLS Congress at the close of the last one in May, also appeared in July and is available in full on the ICLO-NLS’s site here.
Recent contributions of note from Lacan’s son-in-law, Jacques-Alain Miller, appeared in July. For French speakers, video of his presentation introducing the theme for the Xth Congress of the World Association of Psychoanalysis (AMP) in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 – ‘The Unconscious and the Speaking Body’ – is here. For those who prefer English, a translated transcript is available on Lacan.com. An extract of Miller’s intervention on the topic of supervision at the School One’s Grand Conversation in Paris on 18th April also went online last month. Scroll to the bottom of this page to the English translation, courtesy (like so many other translations from the NLS’s work) of Philip Dravers.
The group Psychoanalysis and Politics announced last month that it will be hosting a special event, ‘Linking Space’, in London on 27th September. A number of Lacanian names feature amongst the interdisciplinary list of speakers who will discuss “how crucial contemporary political issues may be fruitfully analyzed through psychoanalytic theory and vice versa”. The full agenda, registration form, and details of next year’s conference in Barcelona can be found on the group’s Yahoo page.
The transatlantic Lacanian group Latigo published a translation of World Association of Psychoanalysis President Miquel Bassols’ paper Retales last month, which is now available to download on their site.
The upcoming event Etre mère (‘Being a mother’), the 44e Journées de l’École de la Cause freudienne (mentioned in last month’s news) now has a Facebook page where updates and related news is being posted. The event takes place in Paris on 15th and 16th November. Full details are also available on the main site here.
Bruno de Florence’s recent presentation on Freud’s Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious, a text Lacan discusses at length in Seminar V, is now up on YouTube here.
Finally, for French speakers, a great resource can now be found at a new location on the site of the World Association of Psychoanalysis: all articles from Ornicar?, the journal of the Freudian Field, listed by author – http://wapol.org/ornicar/author.htm.
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