Site for Contemporary Psychoanalysis
All Seminars take place on alternate Saturdays at Truro Library (small training room 1st floor), Pydar Street, Truro
Time: Morning seminar: 10.00 am – 12.30 pm
Afternoon seminar 1.30 pm – 4.00 pm
Autumn Term 2014
4, 18 October and 1, 15 and 29 November 2014
Psychoanalysis, kinship and practices of care: A critical exploration: Sally Sales
Following Foucault one could understand the emergence of psychoanalysis as a necessary intervention to support the stabilisation of kinship relations within the bourgeois family of the late 19th century. This inauguration within the heterosexual family has historically imposed certain limitations on psychoanalysis capacity to rethink kinship relations outside of the normalising sway of oedipalisation. Whilst contemporary culture increasingly offers new kinship practices within alternative family arrangements, psychoanalytic theory still seems moored in historic notions of the subject, failing to engage with recent transformations in the social field. These 5 seminars will explore the tension between structures of care within traditional kinship relations and new practices of care that break with, or re-make how kinship and belonging might be differently produced. How far is psychoanalysis able to engage with the new territories of contemporary kinship?
(the texts marked with * are texts I will distribute in advance electronically)
Seminar One: Introducing Kinship in psychoanalysis: inaugurating myths
This opening seminar will introduce our enquiry into the relationship between psychoanalysis and kinship. I will be drawing upon a Foucauldian anthropological framework and the work of Judith Butler to structure our thinking for this series.
*Faubion, J (2001) ‘Towards an Anthropology of the Ethics of Kinship’ in The Ethics of Kinship, Rowman & Littlefield: New York
Butler, J (2000) ‘Antigone’s claim’ pp.15 -25 & ‘Promiscuous Obedience’ in Antiogone’s Claim, Columbia University press: New York
Butler, J (2004) ‘Is Kinship always already heterosexual’ and ‘Quandaries of the Incest taboo’ in Undoing Gender, Routledge: London
Seminar 2: From erotic relations to maternal nurture: Klein, Winnicott and post war mothering
This seminar will explore the post war field of psychoanalysis and the very different notions of family life that emerged to inform clinical practice. In England the practices of early maternal nurture began to assume a central and constitutive concern whilst Lacan reoriented psychoanalysis to a structuralist account of eroticised kinship relations moored in language. We will discuss these trajectories and the degree to which they still operate in contemporary psychoanalytic practices.
Mitchell, J (1982) Introduction I in Feminine sexuality ed Mitchell & Rose London: MacMillan
Klein, M (1952) ‘On observing the behaviour of young infants’ in Envy & Gratitude London: Virago
Winnicott D (1960) ‘The theory of the parent-infant relationship’ in The Maturational Process and the Facilitating Environment, London: Karnac
Seminar 3: Contemporary kinship and new practices of mothering
The centrality of mothering to most psychoanalytic accounts has stood in marked contrast to its historically undervalued and ambivalently recognised place. Kristeva’s paper ‘Stabat mater’ explores the elided place of birth and mothering in western kinship, suggesting that outside of Catholicism there are very few myths that enable or privilege the maternal. We will contrast this paper with the contemporary cultural scene, where an intensive focus on mothering has produced the maternal as an oppressive form of surveillance, which certain forms of psychoanalysis have been recruited to support.
Kristeva, J (1987) Stabat Mater in Tales of Love, New York: Columbia University Press
*Faircloth, C (2014) ‘Intensive parenting and the expansion of parenting’ and ‘The problem of ‘Attachment’ in Parenting Culture Studies, ed Lee, E et al Basingstoke: Palgrave McMillan
Seminar 4: Queering the family
Over the last 20 years queer theory has developed a trenchant critique of heteronormativity and its hegemonic place in how kinship is both understood and practised. As new kinship arrangements emerge that contest the traditional family (IVF children; gay households founded on friendship; gay adoptions) queer theory has offered a more promising framework than psychoanalysis to account for these new alternative ways of social belonging. This seminar will draw upon 2 contributions from queer theory to ask two questions: How far have these new kinship forms been incorporated into and colonised by dominant discourses of ‘the family’? Do these alternative kinship forms offer practices of care that contest the structures of care generated by the heterosexual family?
*Weiner, J & Young D (2011) ‘Gay Bonds’ in GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies vol 17, numbers 2-3
*Hicks, S (2006) ‘Genealogy’s desire: Practices of Kinship amongst lesbian and gay foster carers and adopters’ in British Journal of Social Work July 2006 36 (5)
Seminar 5: Question for clinical practice
In this concluding seminar, we will summarise the arguments from the preceding discussions around kinship and psychoanalysis and focus on what our explorations might mean for clinical practice? The group are encouraged to being clinical examples to share.
The New Plague: Interrogating Depression: Ilric Shetland
Depression is a concept which currently freely circulates in popular culture and the health professions. Depression has increasingly become a mode of performing the self, both a clinical and social identity for western subjects. This seminar series will look at different psychoanalytic accounts of depression situating the importance of the concept within the body of each theoretical description. We will discuss the clinical use of the term and situate its emergence in the social field.
Seminar 1: Introduction
In this opening seminar, we will use Darian Leaders book, The New Black, to introduce the main themes of the teaching. This is a very readable book that lays out the cultural field and psychoanalytic engagements in that field well; try to read as much as possible.
Leader, D (2008) The New Black, London: Hamish Hamilton
Seminar 2: Freud and loss
We will be taking Freud’s seminal paper and look at loss as a constitutive moment in the formation of identity, suggesting that depression is an endemic and inescapable consequence for us all.
Freud, S (1917) ‘Mourning and Melancholia’ in SE XIV
Seminar 3: Klein
We will look at the depressive position in Klein and the ‘normality’ of loss and mourning
Klein, M (1940) ‘Mourning and its relation to manic- depressive states’ in Love, Guilt and Reparation, London: Virago
Writing from out of a different tradition, we will look at Kristeva’s Black Sun and her contention that depression is an inevitable consequence of the lost mother relation
Kristeva, J (1989) ‘Psychoanalysis- A counter-depressant’ & ‘Life and Death of Speech in Black Sun, New York: Columbia University press
Seminar 5: Masculinity and depression
We will consider whether depression is a structural feature of gendered identity, with masculinity more prone to depressive experiences. We will draw on the work of Judith Butler to facilitate our thinking.
Butler, J (1997) ‘Melancholy gender/refused Identification’ in The Psychic Life of Power, Stanford: Stanford university press
Spring Term 2015
10 and 24 January, 7 and 21 February and 7 March 2015
Freud and Anxiety: Kirsty Hall
This series will trace the changing notion of anxiety in Freud’s work. Val Parks’s day on Lacan and anxiety will continue this conversation.
Seminar One: The Interpretation of Dreams (especially Chapter II, The Specimen Dream of Irma’s Injection)
For Freud, the purpose of a dream is to process the previous day’s residue of disturbing ideas and thus relieve the mind sufficiently of anxiety to ensure an uninterrupted night’s sleep.
Reading: Either Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams (1900), SE IV and SEV or On Dreams (1901), SE V. If you have time, then the IoD is a more interesting read. You can legitimately omit Chapter 1 which is an exhaustive bibliography repeated in the text of later chapters.
Seminar Two: Ella Sharpe and Jacques Lacan both develop the essentially linguistic aspect of Freud’s theory of dreaming. The process of the disguising a dream is closely aligned to the linguistic phenomena of metaphor and metonymy.
Reading: Ella Sharpe, Dream Analysis.
Seminar II The Ego in Freud’s Theory and in the Technique of Psychoanalysis 1954-55, Chapters XIII and XIV on the Dream of Irma’s Injection.
Seminar III The Psychoses, Chapters XVII and XVIII on metaphor and metonymy.
Seminar VI Desire and its Interpretation, Chapters VIII – XII, re-analysing one of Ella Sharpe’s patients in Dream Analysis.
Seminar Three: We will explore the relationship in Freud’s work between anxiety and creativity.
Reading: Freud, “Creative Writers and Daydreaming”, (1908) SE IX.
Freud, Leonardo da Vinci and a Memory of his Childhood (1910), SE XI.
Seminar Four: We will look at the Uncanny and its relationship to Lacan’s notion of The Real.
Reading: Freud, The Uncanny, (1919) SE XVII.
Seminar Five: General discussion arising from the seminars
Some students might like some optional extra reading – in which case the whole of Lacan’s Seminar VI, Desire and its Interpretation is worth looking at as is Ernest Jones’s book On the Nightmare.
Levinas: Paul Zeal
Emmanuel Levinas (1906-1995), phenomenologist and Jewish philosopher, developed what he called ‘Ethics as first philosophy’. This involves a relation to the Other as unknowable. His discussion of the face-to-face encounter as primary serves as the basis for all his philosophy. This face-to-face relation is more in the nature of an epiphany, in which one recognises the Other as infinitely unknowable, yet towards whom one is responsible, and who cannot be reduced to being an object for the self. In the seminars we will discuss the implications of Levinas’ profound stance, for psychoanalytic practice; and review the many and various psychoanalytic uses of the words object, other and Other.
Hand, S. (1989), Ed. The Levinas Reader. Oxford: Blackwell
Levinas, E. (1979). Totality and Infinity – An Essay on Exteriority. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff
14 March 2014
Listening to Anxiety: what we can learn clinically from Lacan’s formulations on anxiety: Val Parks
The poet Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote: “ O, the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall/Frightful, sheer, no-man fathomed” and Lacan in his Seminar X promised us an orography, or science of the mountains in his introductory session. For him, anxiety provides ground on which many other of his ideas came to be knotted. In the course of this day’s teaching we will think about how Lacan approaches this all pervasive but difficult- to -grasp affect of anxiety.
The key text is the new translation of Seminar X (1962 -3) published by Polity Press. In particular, we will look at the first session, “Anxiety in the Net of Signifiers”, the fourth “Beyond Castration Anxiety” the ninth “Passage a l’Acte and Acting Out” and the twelfth “Anxiety, Signal of the Real” so please could everybody read these sections.
Reference will also be made to:
Freud: Little Hans Case Study, the 1925 paper Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety, and the paper on The Uncanny (1919). All of these are on PEP.
Paul Verhaeghe “The Riddle of Castration Anxiety” in Beyond Gender, from Subject to Drive , Other Press http://www.psychoanalysis.ugent.be/pages/nl /artikelsPaulVerhaeghe/TheRiddle of castration.pdf
Carmen Gallano : “Increasing forms of anxiety in neuroses and psychoses” from CFAR Web Journal 2003 http://www.cfar.org.uk/pdf/anxiety.pdf
Ruth Ronen: “Art and Anxiety, or Lacan with Joyce” in (Re) Turn: A Journal of Lacanian Studies, Vol.2 Spring :2005http://return.jls.missouri.edu/Lacan/Members/ReturnVol2/Ronen.pdf
(London Training w/end March 21st/22nd)
Easter April 3rd to 6th
SW Training weekend 18 & 19 April 2014
Investment to Interpellation: The Frankfurt School and Beyond: Philip Derbyshire
In this weekend the focus will be on the different ways in which the thinkers of the so-called ‘Frankfurt School’ (the several writers associated with the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt and New York, both before and after the war) inflected their thought, based in Marx and Hegel, through an encounter with psychoanalysis, in part to account for the catastrophic emergence of Stalinism and Fascism, and the post World War 2 de-mobilising Fordist versions of capitalism. For instance, Adorno and Horkheimer in The Dialectic of Enlightenment articulate psychoanalysis with Marx, Weber and Nietzsche to engage with the mythic and archaic aspects of the psyche to account for the regression to barbarism. Adorno later displaces his discussion of the subject to take account of the empirical ego and its changing construction (and destruction) with the shift in the dominant forms of capitalism in his essays on ‘Sociology and Psychology’ from the early 1950s. More positively, Marcuse re-reads Freud through a redemptive reworking of psychoanalytic categories in Eros and Civilisation, from 1955, to yield a revolutionary version of Freud’s seemingly conservative account of culture and repression. And Walter Benjamin engages with Freud’s notion of trauma in ‘On Some Motifs in Baudelaire’, as well as reflecting on the question of the dream and fantasy throughout his work.
One could see this use of psychoanalysis as a supplement to rectify certain failings in the Marxist theory of the subject as both innovative and problematic, a feature too of Althusser’s appropriation of Lacan in his influential essay ‘Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses’, where the category of the Imaginary becomes the basis for a theory of ‘subjectification’ and interpellation (‘hailing’). The problematic of articulation and the consequences of hybridising theory provides one crucial axis in thinking about how Freud’s metapsychology is understood and appropriated in its social dimension.
Adorno, T. W. and Horkheimer, M. (1947/1972) The Dialectic of Enlightenment, London: Verso, especially the chapter on ‘Enlightenment and Myth’.
Althusser, Louis. (1970) ‘Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses’ available on-line at www.marxists.org/reference/archive/althusser/1970/ideology.htm
Benjamin, W. (1939) ‘On Some Motifs in Baudelaire’, in Arendt, H. (1970) Illuminations, trans. Harry Zohn, London: Fontana.
Marcuse, H. (1955/1987) Eros and Civilisation, London: Routled
Summer Term 2015
A series of 5 one day seminars from teachers outside of Cornwall
9 May 2015
On the Analysability of Psychotic patients: Racheli Azgad
This seminar will explore the very specific challenge that psychoses presents clinically. Reading list will be circulated nearer to the time
Racheli Azgad is a founder member of the Site with a long standing clinical interest in the field of psychoses.
23 May 2015
Wittgenstein: Paul Gurney
‘Philosophy is not a body of doctrine but an activity’ (Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus). How can the philosophy of Wittgenstein inform the practice of psychotherapy and provide a critique of psychoanalytic theory and practice? In this seminar we will be looking at Wittgenstein’s key texts as well as the writing of some psychotherapists whose work has been influenced by his thinking
Reading list to follow
6 June 2015
Jung, Klein and transference: Richard Mizen
This seminar will interrogate the interest that English Jungians have historically shown in the work of Klein. This Klein/Jung interface will be explored, with particular focus on the concept of transference
Reading list to follow
20 June 2015
Racism, Sexism, and other Processes of Marginalization: Farhad Dalal
Over the last seventy years the Equality Movements have advocated for the values of inclusivity and tolerance, and against prejudice and discrimination. They have brought about many momentous social changes. Yet, in many ways it would seem that little has changed. Pay differentials between men and women continue and in some sectors have actually widened; there are ‘14,000 British professors – but only 50 are black’ (Guardian headline); and so on.
In trying to comprehend and address this sort of situation, psychoanalytic theorizations have tended to privilege the internal, unconscious world, whilst proponents of multiculturalism and diversity have privileged the external, conscious world.
My view is that whilst both shed productive light on the situation, neither is sufficient in itself. I take particular issue with the Diversity vision for its gross over simplifications. I have argued for a reading of the human condition that draws on Foulkes and Elias to give a particular conceptualization of power-relations a central role in human affairs.
There will be no prescribed reading for this event. You might want to look at Fakhry David’s Internal Racism: A Psychoanalytic Approach to Race and Difference, or/and Farhad Dalal’s Race, Colour & the Processes of Racialization or Thought Paralysis: The Virtues of Discrimination.
But in the months prior to this event, I do ask you to be vigilant about noticing how these themes are being evidenced in newspapers and magazines, any journal articles you might come across, and also in your personal and professional contexts. Take the time to make notes and reflections. It would be helpful, to flag these up to me and to the other participants via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) prior to the event.
4 July 2015
Death and Temporality in the work of Jean Laplanche: Anastasios Gaitanidis
In this seminar, we will discuss Laplanche’s assertions that the death drive and temporality are inextricably linked with the constant process of translating, de-translating, and re-translating of the (often unconscious) messages inherent in all human relations. On this model, primary repression is nothing other than an active expulsion of something from this constant process of unification, theorisation and temporalisation which is at work first in relation to messages from the outside, and subsequently in relation to what derives from the internal ‘other’. It is precisely such an expulsion which accounts for the timelessness of the unconscious. In this sense, the death drive is in effect that ‘pure culture’ of otherness that we detect in the deepest layers of the unconscious.
Laplanche, J. & Pontalis, J. B. (1967). The Language of Psychoanalysis. Trans. D. NicholsonSmith. London: Karnac Books, 1988.
Laplanche, J. (1976). Life and Death in Psychoanalysis. Trans. J. Mehlman. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Laplanche, J. (1989). New Foundations for Psychoanalysis. Trans. D. Macey. Oxford: Blackwell.
Laplanche, J. (1997). ‘The So-Called ‘Death Drive’: A Sexual Drive’. In R. Weatherill (ed.). The Death Drive: New Life for a Dead Subject? London: Rebus Press, 2000.
Laplanche, J. (1999). Essays on Otherness. Edited by J. Fletcher. London: Routledge.