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1st July 2021


Argument for the 51st Study Days

20-21 November, 2021 / Paris, France


From the spontaneous revolt of the #MeToo movement, to the new fields of academic study that deconstruct the “normative identity” of the universal human (detecting therein “male, white, heterosexual hegemony”), head-on attacks on “the norm-mal(e)” have taken over public space and debate. This insurrection is a sign of the unbearable that patriarchy now inspires. It should be noted that Lacan had made it clear, as early as 1972, that the "norm" was above all " norm-mal(e)" [1]. Are we in the process of seeing the agony of the patriarchal and phallic order, whose decline Lacan had already diagnosed in 1938, come to an end before our eyes [2]?
This norm-mal(e) corresponds to what psychoanalysis has articulated as the Law of the Oedipus complex and Lacan pinned down as Name-of-the-Father, operator of the normalisation of the subject's desire through the effect of castration. But following the thread of jouissance that overflows all norms, Lacan soon moved beyond the Oedipal fiction whose prohibition strives to cover the impossible linked to what, in sexuality, makes a "hole in the real" [3].
If the Name-of-the-Father is the principle of order and norm for a subject, we understand better why Lacan comes to pluralise the Names-of-the-Father: there exists a variety of modes of treating jouissance and of Borromean knotting. The so called “normality” is purely relative to the way in which each subject defends against the real, by his recourse to the established discourses or by his own inventions. Thus, in modernity, we witness a "lesser effectiveness" of the male norm and a "pluralisation of S1s" that goes as far as "their pulverisation" [4].
The famous Freudian primacy of the phallus, at the heart of misunderstandings with the feminists, is a way to say that nothing inscribes in the unconscious an essence of the masculine or the feminine. The only marker of sex is the phallus, which is the same for all speaking beings, although it functions differently in different cases. The definitions and usages of the phallus are multiple: image, object, signifier, semblant, function. It is the discourse that sets up this part of the body as a symbol of power, and confers on the phallic meaning a scope that extends far beyond the male organ as the seat of a privileged jouissance.
According to Lacan, in terms of situating themselves in sexuation subjects have a choice: either totally inscribed in the phallic function, on the side of the closed set of men or not-all, on the side of women, with access to an Other jouissance, infinite and supplementary.

The male norm thus refers to the universalist and uniformising logic of the "for all x", that of the army of similarities outlined by Freud. Phallic jouissance, model of the jouissance of the One, at its core autoerotic and disjointed from the Other [5], is far from being exclusive to men, because "women are free" [6] to devote themselves to it. The refusal of femininity and the defences against the hole of the feminine can be found in any speaking being. Virility is a fantasy that seeks to fill in castration (-φ) with the object a [7].

Conversely, the one whom the phallus "encumbers", "can also situate oneself on the side of the not-all" [8]. This flexible distinction between "the so-called man or woman portion" [9] of speaking beings will lead Lacan to go beyond all binarism, by orienting himself towards the sinthome as a purely singular mode of enjoyment.
Our egalitarian and democratic era is characterised both by the masculinisation of women within an all alike and by a devaluation of the masculine induced by the crisis of the paternal function [10]. In the era of the "Other who does not exist" [11], virilities are now conjugated in the plural. The contemporary upheavals of the symbolic order produce "a growing disorder of sexuation" [12], a colour chart of men, more or less women's colours [13].
Our century is also the century of the feminisation of the world, of the not-all and of the generalised and claimed a-normality. The singular solutions of the Ones-all-alone and the arrangements by communities of jouissance crystallised into identities prevail over a universal mode of treatment. In response, the senseless multiplication of normative regimes engendered by science and capitalism imposes a new order, "made of iron” [14], where the numerical norm prevails.

The deconstruction of traditional reference points has given rise to a revival of masculinist movements, whose fiercely misogynistic hatred and totalitarian ambitions are unleashed, sometimes violently, against the undisciplined not-all.

Lacan situated psychoanalysis on the reverse side of the master discourse as a radically subversive praxis, foreign to whatever standards they may be. The 51st Study Days of the School of the Freudian cause (École de la Cause freudienne) propose to put to work these questions that run through our daily clinic, where each subject, with or without the male norm, tries to symptomatise jouissance outside the norm. We will be able to hear how the experience of an analysis pushed to its conclusion allows the traversing of the aspiration to virility constitutive of any fantasy, leading each speaking being to isolate and re-seize his intimate programme of jouissance, opening him up to the dimension of the not-all.
By Damien Guyonnet & Aurélie Pfauwadel, Directors of the Study Days 51

Translated by Peggy Papada


Originally published here: https://journees.causefreudienne.org/les-quatre-arguments/
1. Lacan J., "L'Étourdit", Autres écrits, Paris, Seuil, 2001, p. 479. Not available in English
2. Lacan J., “The Family Complexes,” Semiotext(e) 4, no. 1, 1981.
3. Lacan J., “Spring Awakening,” Analysis 6, 1994, p. 33.
4. Miller J.-A., “Lacanian Orientation. The disenchantment of psychoanalysis” (2001-02), course taught under the auspices of the Department of Psychoanalysis, the University of Paris VIII, lesson 22 May 2002, unpublished.
5. Cf. Lacan J., The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book XX, Encore, Edited J.-A. Miller, Trans. B. Fink, New York & London, Norton, 1999, p. 9.
6. Ibid., p. 71.
7. Cf. Miller J.-A.,“Lacanian Orientation. The One all alone (2011), course taught under the auspices of the Department of Psychoanalysis, the University of Paris VIII, lesson 9 February 2011, unpublished.
8. Lacan J., The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book XX, Encore, op.cit. p. 76.
9. Ibid., p. 80.
10. Cf. Miller J.-A., « Bonjour Sagesse », La Cause du désir, n° 95, 2017, p. 84. 
11. Cf. Laurent É., Miller J.-A., “Lacanian Orientation. the Other that Does not Exist and its Ethical Committees.” [1996-97], course taught under the auspices of the Department of Psychoanalysis, the University of Paris VIII, unpublished.
12. Miller J.-A., “Presentation of the Theme of the IXth Congress of the World Association of Psychoanalysis”, A real for the 21st century, Scilicet, NLS, Paris, 2014, p. 34.
13. Cf. Lacan J., The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book XXIII, The Sinthome, Edited J.-A. Miller, Trans. A.R. Price, Cambridge: Polity, 2016, p. 97.
14. Lacan J., The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book XXI, « Les non-dupes errent », lesson of 19 mars 1974, unpublished.

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