Intervention at the General
Assembly of the New Lacanian School: June 27th 2020
As I take up the presidency
of the NLS, let me first tell you what a pleasure it was for me to work with
the outgoing team. Bernard Seynhaeve made the NLS take a decisive step
towards what is the foundation of the school of Lacan, the formation of the
psychoanalyst. This was demonstrated by the wonderful day in Ghent in September
2019 on the Pass and Interpretation
But I also want to
emphasise the courage – I do not hesitate to use the word – that it took for
him to decide to cancel the Ghent Congress that was to have taken place this
weekend. It was a painful decision for the President, who put so much effort
into this debate on interpretation. This deserves our respect.
When Bernard asked me to be
vice-president two years ago, I immediately accepted, delighted to be back with
the NLS of which I had the opportunity to take up the presidency at its very
beginning and this has allowed me to measure the tremendous progress that has
been made, thanks to your hard work. From a school in formation, from the
intense clinical debates of the beginning, from the first extensions of certain
groups, to the situation of today which is that of a school that has fully
embraced its function, the commitment to the formation of the psychoanalyst,
without forgetting a wider extension. What a long way we have come.
The political orientation
that I and the incoming Executive Committee plan to bring to the school can be
summarised in a few words: continuity of our efforts to ensure the formation of
the psychoanalyst. Two Analyst of the School (AS) are currently in operation in
the NLS, Anne Béraud and Florencia Shanahan. A third AS, Dossia Avdelidi,
nominated several months ago has yet to present her first testimony. She will
be able to do so at the WAP Congress in Buenos Aires in December. But in order
for her teaching to happen quickly in our school, with that of the other AS, we
will organise an exceptional day on the Pass and the Formation of the Analyst.
I can already announce that
this day will take place on Saturday the 16th of January 2021, in Dublin,
Ireland, in the hope that the epidemic will no longer burden us at that time.
The AS will also continue their teaching as they travel to the Societies,
Groups and Initiatives. This teaching, in the form of seminars, is of course
left to the freedom of the AS. I would remind you that it was agreed at the
last meeting of the School Council that this teaching will be held under the
title “The Pass in our School, the Teaching of the AS”.
In speaking with many
of you I noted that the debates on the “Questions of the School” raised a great
deal of interest. So we will therefore continue and multiply such debates when
a member of the Executive Committee visits you. Many topics can be addressed.
The pass, the guarantee, cartels, and admissions of course, but also the topics
that specifically concern this or that group, for instance issues related to
distances in large countries or the pitfalls of insider-ism in smaller places.
We still have to discuss
the presence of bodies. The confinement of the epidemic confronted us with the
question of the use of internet communication in the absence of bodies. We will
have to learn from the experience without succumbing to the ease of it. I was
struck by your reaction to this situation, which allowed the school to remain
alive despite the confinement. The zoom seminars in London, Dublin or Tel Aviv
– and maybe in other places as well – have been an unexpected success. People
from all over the world, sometimes from countries where we have never had any
contact, have registered and followed our teaching. This opens up a new
responsibility and it will certainly be necessary to think about ways of
continuing this action without diluting psychoanalysis.
Formation in the school
also rests on cartels. Lilia Mahjoub strongly insisted on this point during her
presidency and this must continue to be a focus of work in the school. The
cartel is the privileged place of elaboration for a few. It is also an
enlightening place on the structure of the group if one reads the Founding Act of the École Freudienne de Paris by
Lacan, where he said that in the cartel “direction will not constitute
chiefdom”. It is a useful to remember that it is a treatment of group
The question of admissions
is also important for the seriousness of the school and the guarantee that the
public finds when it addresses a psychoanalyst whose name is listed in our
directory. We will therefore remain very demanding in the admission of new
members. But it must be said that admissions to Groups and Societies are no
less important since it should always be in a perspective towards the school.
I can assure you that the
Executive Committee will look after each Society or Group and will ensure the
development of the Initiatives, which do not have members because they are
places where our involvement is at its beginning. We will travel there as much
as it is useful.
We will also support all of
the instruments which are used for the transmission of work by the various
paper and online publications in the groups.
* * *
Before announcing the venue
and theme of our next Congress, I would now like to present the new Executive
Vice President, Daniel Roy
is well known to many of you. He is from Bordeaux but he has been very active
in the Eastern Europe Secretariat since the beginnings of the NLS. He has been
closely involved with our Russian colleagues and it is thanks to his serious
and assiduous work with our Bulgarian colleagues that the NLS was able to
establish a Group in Bulgaria.
Secretary Els Van
Compernolle, who until recently served as the President of the Kring and who
was co-director of the Congress to be held in Ghent this year. I know her
capacity for work and the tactfulness with which she deals with any
difficulties that may arise.
As with the outgoing
Executive Committee the secretariat will be shared with Ruzanna Hakobyan from
Quebec, who has agreed to continue with the new team, about which I am very
happy. She will mainly take care of the electronic mailing lists – she will
continue to distribute NLS Press which shows the liveliness of all of our local
teams. She will also be in charge of the new website as soon as it is in place,
which should be imminent. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank
Pamela King, who has worked very hard to bring it to fruition and who will
continue to oversee the completion of the new website. This new website will
be, I think, a remarkable tool. Maria Cristina Aguirre from New York is the
president of the Lacanian Compass. She will also share the secretariat, as she
did in the outgoing team, where she was mainly focused on internal reporting
and contacts with other bodies.
Bruno de Halleux who is
from Brussels, has agreed to take on the heavy and delicate task of the treasurer.
He will look after our income and expenditure. He will be both the spur of our
actions and the principle of limiting our excesses.
Finally, we will have two
cartel delegates: René Raggenbass, who is the current president of the ASREEP
in Switzerland and Joanne Conway who is still, until tonight, the president of
ICLO, our Irish Society. They will both put their energy, which I know is
great, to develop work transference toward the school.
A Russia-Ukraine commission
has been set-up with Bernard Seynhaeve and Ruzanna Hakobyan to help with the
development of psychoanalysis in those countries. This is a region where the
Foundation of the Freudian Field provides significant support for the
organisation of seminars and financial support for the organisation of training
courses and travel related to formation. I myself will co-ordinate our activity
with Ève Miller-Rose for the Freudian Field. I want to thank her for her
support for the work of our colleagues in the East.
I also intend to personally
support the development of our Group in the United States, as best as I can.
The NLS was originally founded to bring together the scattered groups in Europe
and, more broadly, in the Anglo-Saxon world – that is the reason why our school
is bilingual. It is therefore very logical that the Lacanian Compass is part of
it, as is the Australian group. The United States is a very large country with
its own style. We certainly remember the Freudian trap where the plague was
reduced to an adaptive psychology. But today the introduction of rigorous
Lacanian clinic and work of the school which seeks to orient itself on the real
continues and develops there, about which we can be very happy and which we
must support. Our American group is very active in the NLS. The new website is
actually being designed with their assistance.
The review of the NLS, The
Lacanian Review owes much to the work of our North American colleagues. It will
continue under the formidable leadership of Marie-Hélène Brousse, together with
the Lacanian Revue Online to which Florencia Shanahan devotes a lot of energy.
* * *
Our friends from Ghent were
deprived of the Congress this year. We have therefore decided that the next NLS
Congress will take place in Ghent. It will be held on the 22nd and
23rd of May 2021, with the General Assembly taking place on the
evening of Friday the 21st of May. I wanted the theme to articulate
both the body and language. Jacques-Alain Miller proposed the title “Bodily
Effects of Language” [Effets Corporels de la Langue]. This title, precise and
broad, has a certain originality, since it is the first time that we will speak
of bodily effects, that is to be addressed in its various references. From the
mortification of the signifier in the first stage of Lacan’s teaching, to the
striking of the signifier on the body and jouissance effects in the later
Lacan. In the clinic this covers the diseases of mentality [maladies de la
mentalité] and body phenomena. It is also the body event, by which the title is
inscribed in the continuation of the theme of interpretation, from truth to
We have therefore two
important meetings this year: on the 16th of January in Dublin for a
special day on the pass and on the 22nd and 23rd of May
in Ghent for our Congress “Bodily Effects of Language”
Trans Joanne Conway