Difference between revisions of "Passage to the act"

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==Origin of the Term==
 
==Origin of the Term==
The phrase "[[passage to the act]]" comes from [[French]] [[clinic]]al [[psychiatry]], which uses it to designate those impulsive acts, of a violent or criminal nature, which sometimes mark the onset of an acute psychotic episode.
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The phrase "[[passage to the act]]" comes from [[French]] [[clinic]]al [[psychiatry]], which uses it to designate those impulsive [[acts]], of a violent or criminal [[nature]], which sometimes mark the onset of an acute [[psychotic]] episode. As the phrase itself indicates, these [[act]]s are supposed to mark the point when the [[subject]] proceeds from a violent [[idea]] or [[intention]] to the corresponding [[act]]. Because these acts are attributed to the [[action]] of the [[psychosis]], French law absolves the perpetrator of civil [[responsibility]] for [[them]].<ref>Chemama, Roland (ed.) (1993) ''Dictionnaire de la [[Psychanalyse]]. Dictionnaire actuel des signifiants, [[concepts]] et mathèmes de la psychanalyse'', [[Paris]]: Larousse. p.41</ref>
 
 
As the phrase itself indicates, these [[act]]s are supposed to mark the point when the [[subject]] proceeds from a violent idea or [[intention]] to the corresponding [[act]].
 
 
 
Because these acts are attributed to the action of the [[psychosis]], French law absolves the perpetrator of civil responsibility for them.<ref>Chemama, Roland (ed.) (1993) ''Dictionnaire de la Psychanalyse. Dictionnaire actuel des signifiants, concepts et mathèmes de la psychanalyse'', Paris: Larousse. p.41</ref>
 
  
 
==Jacques Lacan==
 
==Jacques Lacan==
 
===Passage to the Act and Acting Out===
 
===Passage to the Act and Acting Out===
As [[psychoanalytic theory|psychoanalytic ideas]] gained wider circulation in France in the first half of the twentieth century, it became common for [[French]] [[analyst]]s to use the term ''[[passage à l'acte]]'' to translate the term ''[[Passage to the act|Agieren]]'' used by [[Freud]]: i.e. as a synonym for [[acting out]].
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As [[psychoanalytic theory|psychoanalytic ideas]] gained wider [[circulation]] in [[France]] in the first half of the twentieth century, it became common for [[French]] [[analyst]]s to use the term ''[[passage à l'acte]]'' to translate the term ''[[Passage to the act|Agieren]]'' used by [[Freud]]: i.e. as a synonym for [[acting out]]. However, in his [[seminar]] of 1962-3, [[Lacan]] establishes a [[distinction]] between these [[terms]]. While both are last resorts against [[anxiety]], the [[subject]] who [[acting out|acts something out]] still remains in the [[scene]], whereas a [[passage to the act]] involves an exit from the [[scene]] altogether.
 
 
However, in his [[seminar]] of 1962-3, [[Lacan]] establishes a distinction between these terms.
 
 
 
While both are last resorts against [[anxiety]], the [[subject]] who [[acting out|acts something out]] still remains in the [[scene]], whereas a [[passage to the act]] involves an exit from the [[scene]] altogether.
 
  
 
===Exit from the Symbolic Order===
 
===Exit from the Symbolic Order===
[[Acting out]] is a [[symbolic]] [[message]] addressed to the [[big Other]], whereas a [[passage to the act]] is a flight from the [[Other]] into the dimension of the [[real]].
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[[Acting out]] is a [[symbolic]] [[message]] addressed to the [[big Other]], whereas a [[passage to the act]] is a flight from the [[Other]] into the [[dimension]] of the [[real]]. The [[passage to the act]] is thus an exit from the [[symbolic order|symbolic nework]], a [[dissolution]] of the [[social]] bond. Although the [[passage to the act]] does not, according to [[Lacan]], necessarily imply an underlying [[psychosis]], it does entail a dissolution of the [[subject]]; for a [[moment]], the [[subject]] becomes a pure [[object]].
 
 
The [[passage to the act]] is thus an exit from the [[symbolic order|symbolic nework]], a dissolution of the social bond.
 
 
 
Although the [[passage to the act]] does not, according to [[Lacan]], necessarily imply an underlying [[psychosis]], it does entail a dissolution of the [[subject]]; for a moment, the [[subject]] becomes a pure [[object]].
 
  
 
==Example==
 
==Example==
In order to illustrate what he means, [[Lacan]] refers to the case of the young homosexual woman treated by [[Freud]].<ref>{{F}} (1920a) "The Psychogenesis of a Case of Female Homosexuality", [[SE]] XVIII, 147.</ref>
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In [[order]] to illustrate what he means, [[Lacan]] refers to the [[case]] of the young [[homosexual]] woman treated by [[Freud]].<ref>{{F}} (1920a) "The Psychogenesis of a Case of [[Female]] [[Homosexuality]]", [[SE]] XVIII, 147.</ref> [[Freud]] reports that the young [[women]] was [[walking]] in the street with the woman she loved when she was spotted by her father, who cast an angry glance at her. Immediately afterwards, she rushed off and threw herself over a wall down the side of a cutting onto a railway line. [[Lacan]] argues that this [[suicide]] attempt was a [[passage to the act]]; it was not a [[message]] addressed to anyone, since [[symbolic|symbolization]] had become [[impossible]] for the young [[woman]]. Confronted with her [[father]]'s [[desire]], she was consumed with an uncontrollable [[anxiety]] and reacted in an impulsive way by [[identification|identifying]] with the [[object]]. Thus she fell down ([[Ger]]. ''niederkommt'') like the ''[[objet petit a]]'', the leftover of [[signification]].<ref>{{L}} (1962-3) ''[[Seminar X|Le Séminaire. Livre X. L'angoisse, 1962-63]]'', unpublished. Seminar of 16 January 1963.</ref>
 
 
[[Freud]] reports that the young women was walking in the street with the woman she loved when she was spotted by her father, who cat an angry glance at her.
 
 
 
Immediately afterwards, she rushed off and threw herself over a wall down the side of a cutting onto a railway line.
 
 
 
[[Lacan]] argues that this suicide attempt was a [[passage to the act]]; it was not a [[message]] addressed to anyone, since [[symbolic|symbolization]] had become impossible for the young [[woman]].
 
 
 
Confronted with her [[father]]'s [[desire]], she was consumed with an uncontrollable [[anxiety]] and reacted in an impulsive way by [[identification|identifying]] with the [[object]].
 
 
 
Thus she fell down ([[Ger]]. ''niederkommt'') like the ''[[objet petit a]]'', the leftover of [[signification]].<ref>{{L}} (1962-3) ''[[Seminar X|Le Séminaire. Livre X. L'angoisse, 1962-63]]'', unpublished. Seminar of 16 January 1963.</ref>
 
  
 
==See Also==
 
==See Also==

Latest revision as of 15:47, 20 May 2019

French: [[passage à l'acte]]


Origin of the Term

The phrase "passage to the act" comes from French clinical psychiatry, which uses it to designate those impulsive acts, of a violent or criminal nature, which sometimes mark the onset of an acute psychotic episode. As the phrase itself indicates, these acts are supposed to mark the point when the subject proceeds from a violent idea or intention to the corresponding act. Because these acts are attributed to the action of the psychosis, French law absolves the perpetrator of civil responsibility for them.[1]

Jacques Lacan

Passage to the Act and Acting Out

As psychoanalytic ideas gained wider circulation in France in the first half of the twentieth century, it became common for French analysts to use the term passage à l'acte to translate the term Agieren used by Freud: i.e. as a synonym for acting out. However, in his seminar of 1962-3, Lacan establishes a distinction between these terms. While both are last resorts against anxiety, the subject who acts something out still remains in the scene, whereas a passage to the act involves an exit from the scene altogether.

Exit from the Symbolic Order

Acting out is a symbolic message addressed to the big Other, whereas a passage to the act is a flight from the Other into the dimension of the real. The passage to the act is thus an exit from the symbolic nework, a dissolution of the social bond. Although the passage to the act does not, according to Lacan, necessarily imply an underlying psychosis, it does entail a dissolution of the subject; for a moment, the subject becomes a pure object.

Example

In order to illustrate what he means, Lacan refers to the case of the young homosexual woman treated by Freud.[2] Freud reports that the young women was walking in the street with the woman she loved when she was spotted by her father, who cast an angry glance at her. Immediately afterwards, she rushed off and threw herself over a wall down the side of a cutting onto a railway line. Lacan argues that this suicide attempt was a passage to the act; it was not a message addressed to anyone, since symbolization had become impossible for the young woman. Confronted with her father's desire, she was consumed with an uncontrollable anxiety and reacted in an impulsive way by identifying with the object. Thus she fell down (Ger. niederkommt) like the objet petit a, the leftover of signification.[3]

See Also


References

  1. Chemama, Roland (ed.) (1993) Dictionnaire de la Psychanalyse. Dictionnaire actuel des signifiants, concepts et mathèmes de la psychanalyse, Paris: Larousse. p.41
  2. Freud, Sigmund. (1920a) "The Psychogenesis of a Case of Female Homosexuality", SE XVIII, 147.
  3. Lacan, Jacques. (1962-3) Le Séminaire. Livre X. L'angoisse, 1962-63, unpublished. Seminar of 16 January 1963.