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La psychanalyse

Founded by Sigmund Freud, psychoanalysis is a theory of the unconscious determinants of subjectivity and action, and a therapeutic practice based on the analysis of speech. Jacques Lacan’s version of psychoanalytic theory is a dominant influence on the research undertaken in the Cahiers pour l’Analyse.

Sigmund Freud coined the term ‘psychoanalysis’ as a name for the new approach to human subjectivity and the unconscious he developed at the turn of the twentieth century. He lay down its key principles in papers such as ‘The Neuro-psychoses of Defence’ (1894; SE 3: 45-61), ‘Obsessions and Phobias: Their Psychical Mechanism and their Aetiology’ (1894: SE 3: 74-82), and ‘The Aetiology of Hysteria’ (1896; SE 3: 191-221), where he demonstrated that psychopathological disorders result from the repression of ‘incompatible ideas’ into the unconscious. Freud first used the term ‘psychoanalysis’ in an 1896 paper, ‘Further Remarks on the Neuro-Psychoses of Defence’ (SE 3: 162, 165-66). Laplanche and Pontalis note that the term originally signalled a change in therapeutic practice aimed at recovering repressed ideas. ‘The adoption of this term served as a formal confirmation that catharsis under hypnosis and suggestion had been dropped and that the obtaining of material would henceforth depend exclusively on the role of free association’.1 Freud presented his first full account of the psychoanalytic theory of the human mind in the final chapter of The Interpretation of Dreams (1900; SE 5: 509-621). The theory of psychoanalysis examines the concepts of drive, sexual difference, repression and the unconscious. Key papers on the theory of psychoanalysis by Freud include ‘Repression’ (1914), ‘The Unconscious’ (1915), and Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920). Psychoanalytic therapy involves listening to the patient’s speech in order to determine what is being repressed. In a 1922 article for an encyclopedia, Freud gives this definition:

Psychoanalysis is the name (i) of a procedure for the investigation of mental processes which are almost inaccessible in any other way, (ii) of a method (based upon that investigation) for the treatment of neurotic disorders, and (iii) of a collection of psychological information obtained along those lines, which is gradually being accumulated into a new scientific discipline (SE 18: 235).

Numerous post-Freudian approaches to the unconscious appeared in the early twentieth century, but it is Jacques Lacan’s development of Freudian psychoanalysis that is the dominant influence on the psychoanalytic investigations to be found in the Cahiers pour l’Analyse. From the 1930s onwards, Lacan made a number of innovations in psychoanalytic theory, extending its methodology and introducing alterations in its practice. In his early writings, he worked out a dialectical theory of the imaginary order of experience that shed light on paranoia and the psychoses, pinpointing a ‘paranoiac’ dimension of subjectivity.2 In his work of the 1950s, he focused on the dimension of speech as the primary field within which psychoanalysis conducts its operations. What distinguishes psychoanalysis from other therapeutic methods, including hypnosis, is that ‘its means are those of speech, insofar as speech confers a meaning on the functions of the individual; its domain is that of concrete discourse qua field of the subject’s transindividual reality; and its operations are those of history, insofar as history constitutes the emergence of truth in reality’ (E, 258). Basing himself on recent developments in linguistic and anthropological theories of structuralism, Lacan went on to attempt to isolate the basic linguistic mechanisms at work in the unconscious, and to provide an account of human subjectivity and action that situated it firmly within social and symbolic structures. By the 1960s, Lacan was incorporating contemporary investigations into logic and mathematics into his theory, in an ongoing search for ways to formulate the proper field and object of psychoanalysis, and to further articulate its precise relationship to the sciences.

The institutional background to French psychoanalysis in the period leading up to the 1960s was complex. In 1953, a dispute over procedures for training analysts broke out within the main institutional body for psychoanalysis in French, the Société Psychanalytique de Paris. A group including Daniel Lagache and Françoise Dolto seceded and founded the Société Française de Psychanalyse. After coming into conflict with the SPP over his shortening of the duration of analytic sessions, Lacan joined the SFP.3 The new Society had been obliged to relinquish its connections with the International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA). This created problems of legitimacy for the new body, and a tension began to develop between Lagache, who favoured establishing links between psychoanalysis and academic psychology, and Lacan, who wanted to relate psychoanalytic theory to recent developments in structuralist linguistics and anthropology. Meanwhile members of the SPP were beginning to interest themselves in Lacan’s work. At the 1960 conference on ‘The Unconscious’ at Bonneval, organised by Henri Ey, representatives of the SPP (including Serge Lebovici, René Diatkine, André Green and Conrad Stein) met with members of the SFP, represented by Lacan, Serge Leclaire, Jean Laplanche, François Perrier, and Jean-Bertrand Pontalis,4 and debated the merits of Lacan’s theory. In 1964, Lacan broke from the SFP to establish his own school, the École freudienne de Paris (EFP).5 Among those who joined Lacan’s new institution were Octave Mannoni, Maud Mannoni, Xavier Audouard, Claude Conte, and Piera Aulagnier. The Circle of Epistemology which went on to publish the Cahiers pour l’Analyse was initially a ‘cartel’ within Lacan’s new psychoanalytic school, devoted to the topic of the theory of discourse.

Lacan’s EFP lasted until 1980, when he dissolved it, just prior to his death in 1981. It was replaced in 1981 by the École de la cause freudienne, under the direction of Jacques-Alain Miller. Today Lacanian psychoanalysis remains a powerful force in contemporary psychoanalytic theory and practice, and Miller now presides over a World Association of Psychoanalysis, founded in 1992 to promote Lacan’s ideas.

Gaston Bachelard’s project to combine psychoanalysis with the philosophy of science bore some influence on the work of the Cahiers. Bachelard subtitled his 1938 volume The Formation of the Scientific Mind, ‘A Contribution to a Psychoanalysis of Objective Knowledge’. He states that ‘the task of the philosophy of science is […] to psychoanalyse interest’ and to ‘turn the mind from the real to the artificial’ (21). Science is hampered in its development by certain ‘obstacles’ that impede the rational formulation of answers to scientific problems. For instance, ‘animist’ ideas about forces must be analysed and rejected from the body of knowledge as merely ideological. For Bachelard, the prescription of psychoanalytic therapy for scientific knowledge aims to produce a ‘catharsis’ or ‘abreaction’ of the obstacles in the way of scientific thought.6

In his 1964 article ‘Freud and Lacan’, Louis Althusser argued for the incorporation of psychoanalytic principles into the Marxist theory of ideology. ‘The object of psychoanalysis’ is the set of ‘effects’ resulting from ‘the extraordinary adventure that, from birth to the liquidation of the Oedipus complex, transforms a small animal engendered by a man and woman into a small human child’, and ultimately, into a ‘subject’. The unconscious is the primary effect of the initial process of repression in childhood, but its emergence in subjectivity has repercussions in the social and political fields, particularly at the ideological level of experience.7 In the 1966 ‘Three Notes on the Theory of Discourses’, Althusser argues that psychoanalytic theory should be distinguished from psychoanalysis as a practice (involving cure or treatment). As a theory, psychoanalysis has a particular ‘object’: the unconscious. In the ‘Three Notes’, he takes psychoanalysis to hold a privileged place in a general theory of discourse, insofar as it provides the principles for a logic of the signifier.8 Althusser’s attempt in this piece to integrate psychoanalysis into a general theory of discourse broadly coincides with the driving force of the project of the Cahiers pour l’Analyse. However, Althusser himself went on to criticise Lacan’s version of psychoanalysis, arguing that the latter’s account of ‘truth’ was ideological and unscientific.9 He then abandoned the notion of subjectivity altogether, affirming a ‘process without a subject’, arriving at the conclusion that spontaneity could only be found in the ‘aleatory’ conjunctions thrown up by the forces of history.10

The approach to psychoanalysis taken in the Cahiers pour l’Analyse involves a conjunction of three main tendencies: Lacanian psychoanalysis, Bachelardian epistemology, and Althusserian structuralist Marxism.

In the Cahiers pour l’Analyse

Many of the articles in the first volume of the Cahiers directly concern psychoanalysis. Two entire volumes of the series are devoted to psychoanalysis: Volume 3, Sur l’Object de la psychanalyse, and Volume 5, Ponctuation de Freud. Several articles in Volume 7, Du Mythe au roman, and Volume 9, Sur la Généalogie des sciences, also provide key inquiries into psychoanalytic concepts. The penultimate article in the Cahiers, Alain Badiou’s ‘Mark and Lack’ (CpA 10.8) is a critique of the elaboration of Lacanian psychoanalytic ideas about the basic connections between subjectivity and signification set out by Jacques-Alain Miller in the first volume. From Volume 5-8, the Cahiers pour l’Analyse published the first French translation of Daniel Paul Schreber’s Memoirs of my Nervous Illness (to which Freud and Lacan had both devoted extensive analyses). 11

In his ‘Science et la vérité’ (CpA 1.3), Jacques Lacan says that psychoanalysis is distinguished by the fact that it deals with the modern subject, ‘the subject of science’. In a session of Seminar XII: Crucial Problems for Psychoanalysis, Lacan had argued that what distinguishes Freudian psychoanalysis from other competitors in the theoretical field devoted to the unconscious is its commitment to the analysis of the subjectivity proper to the age of science, and its consequent identification of a ‘subsistence in the subject of a not-knowing [non-savoir]’.12 Despite the advances of science, a relation of ‘not-knowing’ still governs desire and sexuality, and it is to the articulation of this side of subjectivity that psychoanalysis is in principle devoted. In ‘Science et la vérité’, Lacan suggests that science involves a foreclosure of truth, and that the task of psychoanalysis is to bring this truth to light (CpA 1.1:14; E, 863). He states that Marxism in principle shares this idea of the truth. For both psychoanalysis and Marxism, what is at stake is truth as ‘cause’: whether a traumatic event that has not been processed, or a ‘cause’ to fight for. Psychoanalysis intervenes at the level of ‘causes’, distinguishing the unconscious motivations at work in people’s reasons for acting.

Jacques-Alain Miller’s ‘Suture’ (CpA 1.3) was first given as a paper at Lacan’s Seminar XII on Crucial Problems for Psychoanalysis, and he preserves the lecture format, opening with an apology to his audience for not being a psychoanalyst (CpA 1.3:37; trans. 23). Miller argues that a Lacanian psychoanalytic logic of the logic of the signifier can help to make sense of Frege’s theory of the foundations of mathematics, and that, conversely, Frege’s theory of number sheds unexpected light on ‘the structure of repetition, as the process of the differentiation of the identical’ (CpA 1.3:46; trans. 30) as it is articulated by psychoanalysis. Miller isolates a formal structure expressing the universal features of the relation of the subject to language, which he suggests can account both for the process of the formation of subjectivity, and the psychoanalytic reconstruction of determining events in the analysand’s history in therapy.

Serge Leclaire’s six contributions to the Cahiers pour l’Analyse are all devoted to psychoanalytical themes. ‘L’Analyste à sa place?’ (CpA 1.4) is a critique of Miller’s ‘Suture’ (CpA 1.3), centred around a dispute over Miller’s claims about the restricted position of the psychoanalyst with relation to the speech of the patient (CpA 1.4:50). According to Leclaire, what is fundamental and distinctive to the psychoanalyst is his power of ‘listening’ (52), which alone is capable of cutting through the ‘sutures’ or secondary repressions woven by the analysand.

Leclaire’s seminar series ‘Compter avec la psychanalyse’ (CpA 1.5, CpA 3.6 and CpA 8.6) ran concurrently with Jacques Lacan’s Seminars XII (Crucial Problems for Psychoanalysis, 1964-65) and XIII (The Object of Psychoanalysis, 1965-66), both held at the Ecole Normale Supérieure at rue d’Ulm. A brief opening text by Leclaire indicates that the concerns of his seminar are located between the practice and theory of psychoanalysis, with each side informing the other (CpA 1.5:55). These seminars provide detailed analysis of key psychoanalytic concepts such as fantasy, castration, the phallus, repression and sexual difference.

In ‘Note sur l’objet de la psychanalyse’ (CpA 2.5), Leclaire provides a commentary on the themes of Lacan’s Seminar XIII, The Object of Psychoanalysis. Leclaire notes that ‘psychoanalysis marks the entry into everyday life of a new dimension, the unconscious’ (CpA 2.5:125), but that a ‘miscognition [méconnaissance] […] seems necessarily to accompany every approach to this new dimension’. Leclaire argues that this can be avoided if the object proper to psychoanalysis is identified and given a proper theoretical reconstruction. Stating that ‘the process of a psychoanalysis can be described in a summary fashion as consisting in making certain repressed elements in the unconscious system re-enter into the circuit of consciousness’ (126), Leclaire proceeds to examine the basic model of repression as the key to the constitution of the unconscious dimension of subjectivity that is the concern of psychoanalysis.

In ‘Réflexions sur la situation théorique des sciences sociales, et, spécialement, de la psychologie sociale’ (CpA 2.6), Thomas Herbert (Michel Pêcheux) develops a theory of ideology endebted to Althusser and Lacan. He states that the ‘sciences’ of historical materialism and psychoanalysis already ‘exist’, and that this should in principle allow for the construction of a general theory of discourse (CpA 2.6:144). The theory of ideology should attempt to combat the obstacles in the way of the acceptance of these theories as scientific. He goes on to propose the concept of a ‘social listening’ (écoute sociale) capable of designating future functions for instruments of theory and practice, ‘in an analogous sense to the “analytic listening” [“l’écoute analytique”] of Freudian practice’ (164).

A number of articles in Volume 3, Sur l’Object de la psychoanalyse, are devoted to the direct discussion of psychoanalysis. The articles in this volume by Xavier Audouard and Jean-Claude Milner, although primarily readings of Plato’s Sophist, also explore the ramifications of the psychoanalytic conception of the logic of the signifier developed in Volume 1 by Jacques-Alain Miller (cf. CpA 3.4:67-68, CpA 3.5:77), as well as alluding to psychoanalytic concepts of fantasy (CpA 3.4:64 and CpA 3.5:82).

In his ‘Réponses à des étudiants en philosophie sur l’objet de la psychanalyse’ (CpA 3.1), Jacques Lacan presents his thoughts on the relationship between the psychoanalytic theory of subjectivity and philosophical ideas about consciousness (CpA 3.1:6, trans. 107), and the connections between Marxist and psychoanalytical ideals about alienation (CpA 3.1:9, trans. 110). Reflecting further on the relationship of psychoanalysis to science, Lacan suggests that if every science has an object, then the object of psychoanalysis must be a problematic one, as it is ‘the subject of the unconscious [as] a spoken being’, which is ‘not a presentable object’ (12/113). He appeals to a structuralism capable of incorporating subjectivity and speech, concluding that ‘psychoanalysis as a science will be structuralist, to the point of recognising in science a refusal of the subject’ (12/113).

André Green’s ‘L’objet (a) de J. Lacan, sa logique, et la théorie freudienne’ (CpA 3.2) is a detailed analysis of Lacan’s ideas about the objet petit a that relates the concept back to the phenomena discussed by Freudian psychoanalysis.

The paper was first delivered on 22 December 1965 at the 4th session of Lacan’s Seminar XIII, The Object of Psychoanalysis (1965-66), and Green’s introduction situates the paper within the context of Lacan’s seminar. He makes a preliminary distinction between two senses in which there is an ‘object’ of psychoanalysis. First, like any science, psychoanalysis has an ‘object’ that is proper to it. But, secondly, psychoanalysis also deals with specific kinds of ‘objects’ in the libidinal sense. Green implicitly takes up Lacan’s suggestion in ‘Science and Truth’ that the proper object of psychoanalysis as a discipline might be a particular kind of object, what Lacan terms the objet petit a (CpA 1.1:15, E, 864). An analysis of Lacan’s concept of the objet petit a is necessary because it ‘marks out the limitations of the modern structuralist dimension of Lacanian thought, and, no doubt, of all psychoanalytic thought’ (CpA 3.2:16, trans. 164). Green presents a wide-ranging analysis of the role of this special ‘object’ in instituting the conditions for the distinction between subject and object in general. He contends that the objet petit a shows the ‘limits’ of psychoanalytic structuralism insofar as it raises questions about the role of affectivity in relation to objects that cannot be answered within a purely structuralist framework.

In ‘Communications linguistique et spéculaire (Modèles génétiques et modèles pathologiques)’ (CpA 3.3), Luce Irigaray reconstructs the psychoanalytic model of development using concepts from linguistics alone. She re-interprets key Freudian concepts such as the Oedipus complex and castration as effects of the process of the acquisition of the proper name and of the integration of the subject into a basic framework of personal pronouns (the third person pronouns ‘he’ and ‘she’, and the first person pronoun ‘I’) (CpA 3.3:41, trans. 10-11). In the second half of the article, Irigaray develops Lacan’s ideas about the imaginary order and the specular image into a theory of specularisation. She suggests that the imaginary register of specularisation must be distinguished from the order of linguistic communication, but also related to it in order to explain the structures of fantasy that influence discourse.

Serge Leclaire’s article ‘Les éléments en jeu dans une psychanalyse’ (CpA 5.1) is an interpretation of Freud’s History of an Infantile Neurosis (the case of the ‘Wolf Man’), and a reflection on the concept of castration in psychoanalysis. The essay attempts to describe the key signifiers examined by psychoanalytic investigation in terms of what Freud calls the ‘unconscious concept’ of castration, and to suggest that the signifier of castration in the ‘Wolf Man’ case symbolises the accession ‘to a world of clarity where difference reigns’ (CpA 5.1:21) and where the subject can assume his desire as a sexually differentiated subject.

Michel Tort’s ‘Le concept freudien de “Représentant” (Repräsentanz)’ (CpA 5.2) was first presented as a paper at a seminar on psychoanalysis at the École Normale Supérieure. It is an analysis of Freud’s postulation of ‘a primal repression [Urverdrängung], a first phase of repression, consisting in the psychical (ideational) representative [Vorstellungs-Repräsentanz] of the drive being denied entrance into the conscious’ (SE 14:148). For Lacan, Jean Laplanche, Serge Leclaire and André Green, amongst others, Freud’s concept of Vorstellungs-Repräsentanz had become central for thinking through the psychoanalytic account of the relations between drive and representation, the physical and the mental, and between affect and signification. In this essay, Tort criticises misinterpretations of the significance of the term in recent Lacanian psychoanalytic theory, arguing that too much focus has been put on the concept of representation, and not enough on the fact that Freud’s real concern is the repression of the drives. Tort argues moreover that Freud’s insistence on the biological character of the drive is fundamental to the epistemological break made by psychoanalysis in the field of psychology.

In ‘Le Pensée du Prince’ (CpA 6.2), François Regnault develops Lacan’s ideas about the role of ‘historicization’ and ‘historicity’ in psychoanalytic interpretation within the context of a Machiavellian ‘science of politics’. In his 1953 ‘Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis’ Lacan develops a distinction between ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ historicization in order to reformulate Freud’s distinction between the ‘primary inscription’ of events in the unconscious, and their secondary censorship or re-inscription. Regnault uses the distinction to isolate the level at which Machiavelli discusses history in The Prince and The Discourses (CpA 6.2:44).

Of the three interpretations of works of literature in Volume 7, by Jean-Claude Milner, François Regnault, and Jean Reboul, only Reboul’s article relies directly on psychoanalytic concepts. Jean-Claude Milner’s interpretation of Louis Aragon’s Mise à mort (CpA 7.2) adopts the approach of ‘structural analysis’ to present an account of the dynamics of the novel shorn of any reference to the dimension of psychology (CpA 7.2:46). In his essay on Witold Gombrowicz (CpA 7.4), François Regnault develops ideas about perversion (CpA 7.3:70) and the role of the gaze in sexual desire (60), referring to Lacan’s development of the latter idea in Seminar XI from 1964, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis (60).

Reboul’s ‘Sarrasine, ou la castration personifie’ (CpA 7.5) is a Lacanian reading of Balzac’s story Sarrasine, the tale of a love affair between the eponymous narrator and Zambinella, a singer who turns out to be one of the last of the castrati. Reboul argues that the ‘real’ nature of Zambinella’s castration (her ‘personification’ of castration) serves to highlight the structural importance of the phallus and castration in the symbolic order. For Reboul, Sarrasine, the protagonist, exemplifies the pathology of the obsessional neurotic. Immersed in narcissism and incapable of acknowledging any lack in the Other, Sarrasine experiences Zambinella as a composite of idealised feminine attributes. Since he has no conception of the symbolic order, the revelation of Zambinella’s real lack of a penis shows his love to be based on nothing more than his own fragmented projections of ideal femininity, resulting in his collapse as a subject capable of sexual desire (CpA 7.5:94).

Jacques Nassif’s ‘Le fantasme dans On bat un enfant’ (CpA 7.4) is a reading of Freud’s 1919 text ‘A Child is being Beaten: A Contribution to the Study of the Origin of Sexual Perversions’ (SE 17: 174-204). Nassif claims that the real topic of Freud’s paper is not the perversions but fantasy. Only psychoanalysis can reconstruct the process through which fantasies are constructed in the course of development. It allows for an archaeology of fantasies, locating the ‘breaks [coupures]’ and ‘phases’ where the content of the fantasy is displaced and the positions of the subject reversed (82).

In ‘Action de la structure’ (CpA 9.6), Jacques-Alain Miller states that his aim is to arrive at a critical understanding of Jacques Lacan’s version of psychoanalytic theory, and to put it to the test by constructing a systematic exposition of it that joins up with ‘other discourses’ (CpA 9.6:94). Miller’s concern is to join the two discourses of psychoanalysis and Marxism: ‘Psychoanalysis, like Marxism, provides the principle for a new organisation of the conceptual field […]. For our part, we understand ourselves as subscribing to this reorganisation and attempt to count its cost’ (93). Psychoanalysis has been ‘liberated by Jacques Lacan from the interpretation of the individual as psychological subject’ (103), while Marxism has been ‘liberated by Louis Althusser of the obstacle that burdened it with a conception of society as historical subject’. He contends that it is ‘now possible to join these two discourses. We maintain that the discourses of Marx and Freud might communicate with each other via regulated transformations, and might reflect one another in a unitary theoretical discourse’ (103).

Jacques Nassif’s ‘Freud et la science’ (CpA 9.10) studies the origins of psychoanalysis in the work of Charcot and Bernheim. Nassif’s central question concerns the compatibility of the psychoanalytic theory of repetition with the concept of the epistemological break. If epistemological breaks are ruptures with the past, then how does that apply in the case of psychoanalysis, for which the concept of repetition is fundamental, as a category of behaviour, a therapeutic instrument, and as an operation basic to discourse in general? Nassif’s answer is that psychoanalysis breaks with the past through a ‘repetition’ of a previous series of breaks (occurring in the work of Charcot, Jackson, Bernheim and Breuer) (CpA 9.10:157). Nassif’s article attempts to ‘repeat’ the origins of psychoanalysis, and to shed light on the applicability of the notion of the epistemological break in psychoanalysis.

In his ‘Marque et manque: à propos du zéro’ (CpA 10.8), Alain Badiou launches a critique of Jacques-Alain Miller’s claim in ‘Suture: Éléments d’une logique du signifiant’ (CpA 1.3) that Lacanian psychoanalytic theory is necessary to give a full account of the foundations of logic and mathematics. Badiou argues that the ‘logic of suture’ should be returned to the domain of subjective experience, and ultimately, ideology. Lacanian theory might be able account for ideological misrecognitions in speech and experience. Science is ‘stratified in such a way that no lack is marked in it that does not refer to another mark in a subjacent order differentiated from the first. Science does not fall under the concept of the logic of the signifier’. Badiou criticises Marxist historical materialism and psychoanalysis for attempting to become foundational discourses, thus effacing ‘the specificity of their place[s]’. By attempting to become foundational, Marxism and psychoanalysis each end up in the position of attempting to ‘reduce’ the other to its own principles. They thus ‘become un-stratified, un-scientific’ (CpA 10.8:162). Marxism and psychoanalysis should admit that they both have ‘nothing to say about science’ itself, and that they are not themselves sciences, but that they still have a function in analysing the unspoken desires and ideological commitments of scientists:

It is […] imperative to insist that the science of psychoanalysis has nothing to say about science, even if it can teach us a great deal about the scientists who serve it. Through this silence, psychoanalysis negatively determines the signifier of which it speaks, and in which it articulates Desire. Historical materialism provides a positive redoubling of this determination by producing the structural configuration wherein ideological agency takes place (162).

The place of psychoanalysis is to examine the ‘functioning’ and ‘efficacy’ of ideologies. Psychoanalysis helps to establish ‘the laws of input and connection through which the places allocated by ideology are ultimately occupied.’ It is on this basis that psychoanalysis and historical materialism might be articulated together, as a double ‘determination of the signifiers’ at work in lived or ideological discourse.

Primary bibliography

  • Althusser, Louis. ‘Freud et Lacan’, La Nouvelle Critique, 161-2, (December 1964-January 1965; revised 1969). ‘Freud and Lacan’, in Lenin and Philosophy, London: New Left Books, 1971.
  • Althusser, Louis. ‘Trois Notes sur la théorie des discours’ [1966], Écrits sur la psychanalyse. Paris: IMEC, 1995. ‘Three Notes on the Theory of Discourses’, in The Humanist Controversy and Other Writings (1966-1967), ed. François Matheron, trans. G.M. Goshigarian. London: Verso, 2003.
  • Althusser, Louis. ‘Reply to John Lewis’ [1973], in Essays in Self-Criticism, trans. Grahame Lock. London: New Left Books, 1976.
  • Althusser, Louis. ‘The Underground Current of the Materialism of the Encounter’ [1982], in Philosophy of the Encounter: Later Writings, 1978-1987, trans. G.M. Goshgarian, 2006.
  • Bachelard, Gaston. La Formation de l’esprit scientifique: Contribution à une psychanalyse de la connaissance objective. Paris: Vrin, 1938. The Formation of the Scientific Mind: A Contribution to a Psychoanalysis of Objective Knowledge, trans. Mary McAllester Jones. Manchester: Clinamen, 2002.
  • Freud, Sigmund. ‘On the Neuro-Psychoses of Defence’ [1894], in Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, ed. James Strachey et al. London: Hogarth Press, 1953-1974, vol. 3. [Hereafter ‘SE’ followed by volume number].
  • Freud, Sigmund. ‘Obsessions and Phobias: Their Psychical Mechanism and their Aetiology’ [1894], SE 3.
  • Freud, Sigmund. ‘Further Remarks on the Neuro-Psychoses of Defence’ [1896], SE 3.
  • Freud, Sigmund. ‘The Aetiology of Hysteria’ [1896], SE 3.
  • Freud, Sigmund. The Interpretation of Dreams [1900], SE 4-5.
  • Freud, Sigmund. ‘Psychoanalytic Notes on an Autobiographical Account of a Case of Paranoia (Dementia Paranoides)’ [1911], SE 12.
  • Freud, Sigmund. ‘The Unconscious’ [1915], SE 14.
  • Freud, Sigmund. ‘Repression’ [1915], SE 14.
  • Freud, Sigmund. Beyond the Pleasure Principle [1920], SE 18.
  • Freud, Sigmund. ‘Two Encyclopedia Articles’, SE 18.
  • Lacan, Jacques. De la Psychose paranoïaque dans ses rapports avec la personnalité [1932]. Paris: Seuil, 1975.
  • Lacan, Jacques. ‘The Mirror Stage as Formative of the I Function as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience’ [1936/1949], in Écrits, trans. B. Fink. New York: W.W. Norton, 2006.
  • Lacan, Jacques. ‘Aggressivity in Psychoanalysis’ [1948], in Écrits.
  • Lacan, Jacques. Seminar III: The Psychoses (1955-56), ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, trans. Dennis Porter.London: Routledge, 1992.
  • Lacan, Jacques. ‘On a Question Prior to Any Possible Treatment of Psychosis’ [1955], in Écrits.
  • Lacan, Jacques. Seminar XI: The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-Analysis, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, trans. Alan Sheridan. London: Penguin, 1977.
  • Lacan, Jacques. Seminar XII: Crucial Problems for Psychoanalysis (1964-1965), trans. Cormac Gallagher, unpublished manuscript.
  • Lacan, Jacques. Seminar XIII: The Object of Psychoanalysis (1965-1966), trans. Cormac Gallagher, unpublished manuscript.

Secondary bibliography

  • Laplanche, Jean, and Jean-Bertrand Pontalis. Vocabulaire de la psychanalyse. Paris: PUF, 1967. The Language of Psychoanalysis, trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith. London: Hogarth Press, 1973.
  • Dosse, François. History of Structuralism [1991], Vol. 1, trans. Deborah Glassman. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997.
  • Roudinesco, Elisabeth. Jacques Lacan & Co: A History of Psychoanalysis in France, 1925-1985, trans. Jeffrey Mehlman. London: Free Association, 1990.
  • Roudinesco, Elisabeth. Jacques Lacan: A Biography (1993), trans. Barbara Bray. London: Polity, 1997.


1. Jean Laplanche and Jean-Bertrand Pontalis, The Language of Psychoanalysis, ‘Psychoanalysis’, 367.

2. Cf. Jacques Lacan, De la psychose paranoïaque dans ses rapports avec la personnalité (1932), ‘The Mirror Stage as Formative of the I Function as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience’ (1936/1949), and ‘Aggressivity in Psychoanalysis’ (1948) in Écrits.

3. François Dosse, History of Structuralism, Vol. 1, 94. Lacan claimed that sessions should be ‘punctuated’ according to the signifiers thrown up in the speech of the patient; if a decisive symbolic connection appeared, the analyst should retain the power to stop the session, to allow the symbolic connection to exert a greater effect on the patient. See Elisabeth Roudinesco, Jacques Lacan: A Biography, 201-204.

4. François Dosse, History of Structuralism, Vol. 1, 122.

5. Roudinesco, Jacques Lacan, 310.

6. As Mary McAllester Jones notes in her introduction to the English translation of Bachelard’s Formation of the Scientific Mind, it is the ‘therapeutic’ aspect of psychoanalysis that is most important to Bachelard. He conceives of psychoanalysis as involving an abreaction or ‘catharsis’ (3).

7. Louis Althusser, ‘Freud and Lacan’, 205, 206.

8. Lacan, ‘Three Notes on the Theory of Discourses’, 56.

9. In the ‘Third Note’ to ‘Three Notes on the Theory of Discourses’, 78.

10. On the ‘process without a subject’, see the 1973 ‘Reply to John Lewis’, 94-99. On ‘aleatory materialism’, see ‘The Underground Current of the Materialism of the Encounter’ (1982).

11. Freud in his 1911 interpretation of Schreber’s Memoirs, ‘Psychoanalytic Notes on an Autobiographical Account of a Case of Paranoia (Dementia Paranoides)’ (SE 12), and Lacan in his third Seminar, The Psychoses (1955-56), and ‘On a Question Prior to Any Possible Treatment of Psychosis’ (E, 557-583).

12. Lacan, Seminar XII: Crucial Problems for Psychoanalysis (1964-65), 18th session, 12 May 1965, 6.