Talk:École Freudienne de Paris

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École Freudienne de Paris (Freudian School of Paris)

On June 21, 1964, Jacques Lacan founded theÉcole française de psychanalyse (EFP, French School of Psychoanalysis), which, without changing its initials, was quickly renamed theÉcole freudienne de Paris (Freudian School of Paris). The meeting to found the new school was held in the home of François Perrier, the same place where the Quatrième Groupe (the Fourth Group, an offshoot of the EFP) would be founded in 1969. The gathering was attended by about fifty members of the Société française de psychanalyse (SFP, French Psychoanalytic Society), which would not formally be dissolved until January 1965. Lacan chose the word "school" in reference to the ancient schools of philosophy: "certain places of refuge, indeed bases of operation against what might already be called the discontents of civilization" (Lacan, 1964/1990, p. 104). The School's "Founding Act" was completely different from that of any other psychoanalytic institution. Lacan announced the School's project in a solemn tone: Its task would be "a labor which, in the field opened up by Freud, restores the cutting edge of his discovery" (p. 97). In order to do this, he made new distinctions in the field of psychoanalysis by creating three divisions, the direction of which he personally undertook: the division for "pure psychoanalysis . . . which is and is nothing but . . . the training analysis" (p. 98), the division for "applied psychoanalysis, which means therapeutic and clinical medicine" (p. 99), and the division for "taking inventory of the Freudian field," which would "undertake to publish those principles from which analytic practice is to receive its [scientific status]" (p. 99). Such a distinction between pure and didactic psychoanalysis on the one hand and the therapeutic field on the other could logically only lead to a recourse to science in order to legitimize psychoanalysis. Thus in the "Founding Act" the idealization of science that would later lead to the matheme was already on the horizon. It had already lead Lacan in 1955 to imagine the "recognition of psychoanalysis, as either a profession or a science" on the basis of a "principle" (Lacan, 1966, p. 325).

The School recognized three categories of members, which did not in any way correspond to the traditional forms of membership in a psychoanalytic society. The rank of Analyst of the School (AE) was initially held by those who had been full members of the SFP, their task was the "doctrinal elaboration of training analysis." To become an AE, one had to make a request to the "jury of approval." The Analyst Member of the School (AME) were directly named, without a personal solicitation, by a "jury of reception" that guaranteed their "professional ability" based on the "approval of their training analyst, the advice of their supervisor or supervisors, and accounts of the candidate's practice." It was specified that, "in regard to the psychoanalytic treatments undertaken under his or her direction, the analyst is only authorized by him- or herself" (Annuaire EFP 1977). This sentence contributed to serious misunderstandings when its second half was taken to be a formula by which one could become an analyst, while in context it is clear that it is only a matter of being authorized in the session. The third category is that of the practicing analyst (A.P.), who declared their practice to the EFP without being sanctioned by it. Finally, it was also possible to be a member of the School without being an analyst by participating in its work and research.

The first board of directors that led the EFP was made up of Piera Aulagnier, Jean Clavreul, Jacques Lacan, Serge Leclaire, François Perrier, Guy Rosolato, and Jean-Paul Valabrega. Each of them left the board successively, and some of them left the School altogether, with the exception of Jean Clavreul, who was a member of the last board of directors to be formed (1967), and Lacan, president of the 1967 board, with Solage Faladé as vice-president, Éric Laurent as secretary and administrator of cartels, Jacques-Alain Miller as administrator of cartels, Charles Melman and Christian Simatos—longtime secretary of the School—as administrators of teaching, Claude Conté and Irène Roublef as administrators of publication, and René Bailly as assistant treasurer.

The EFP was officially established as a non-profit organization when its first set of bylaws, which were very concise, were filed on September 24, 1964. The members of the corporate board were lay people, friends of Lacan's. In 1969, in an effort to have the School recognized as a state-approved agency, more detailed bylaws were filed by Solange Faladé, but in 1970, the Council of State turned down the School's application.

During its fifteen years of existence, the EFP went through a series of institutional crises over policies and theoretical issues. On December 1, 1965, François Perrier resigned from the board of directors over the question of training, and on March 31, 1967, he proposed the formation of a "college of analysts" focused on the clinic. Jacques Lacan responded with his "Proposition of October 9, 1967, on the Psychoanalyst of the School" in which he suggested his procedure of "the pass." This proposal led to the 1968 departure of Guy Rosolato, who rejoined the Psychoanalytic Association of France (AFP). The first split within the Lacanian movement itself soon followed, with the departures of Piera Aulagnier, François Perrier, and Jean-Paul Valabrega during discussions on the pass at the Lutetia Assizes during January 1969. They took with them about twenty members of the School.

The departures of such eminent members caused disruptions within the School. Bit by bit, a rift developed between the EFP and the Department of the Freudian Field at Vincennes, which was founded by Serge Leclaire in 1968 and taken over by Jacques Lacan and Jacques-Alain Miller at the end of 1970. This rift led to an implied division between the EFP's clinical analysts and the young analysts at Vincennes, whose academic training in psychoanalysis set them apart. This younger group became the vehicle for the logical orientation of Lacan's later career, especially after the founding of the journal Ornicar? by Jacques-Alain Miller in 1975. The Deauville Assizes on the experiment of the pass, held in January 1978, gave ample evidence of the failure of what Lacan had hoped would be the primary institutional procedure of the School. It was also at this time that Lacan began to suffer from serious neurological problems (progressive aphasia).

In the end, the EFP collapsed on legal grounds. An extraordinary general assembly convened on September 30, 1979, to expand the corporate board from seventeen to twenty-five members and to elect a new board. But on January 5, 1980, in a letter addressed to the members of the School and read at his seminar, Lacan announced the dissolution of the School. This letter prompted Michèle Montrelay and twenty-seven other members to file a lawsuit claiming irregularities in the September meeting. A provisional administrator was named by the Paris municipal court on January 25, 1980. In 1980, three extraordinary general assemblies met without attaining a statutory majority until finally, on September 27, the dissolution of the EFP was passed.

When it was founded in June 1964, the EFP included about 100 members. In January 1980, membership stood at more than 600, a number that testifies to the vitality of French Lacanianism in that era.

See Also



  1. Žižek, S. (2000) The Fragile Absolute, or Why the Christian Legacy is Worth Fighting For, London and New York: Verso. p. 151
  1. Lacan, Jacques. (1966).Écrits. Paris: Seuil.
  2. ——. (1990). Founding act. In Television: A challenge to the psychoanalytic establishment (Joan Copjec, Ed.). New York: Norton. (Original work published 1964)
  3. ——. (1995). Proposition of 9 October 1967 on the Psychoanalyst of the School (Russell Grigg, Trans.). Analysis, 6, 1-13. (Original work published 1968)

Category:Slavoj Žižek]] Category:Psychoanalysis]] Category:Academia]] Category:Schools]]