Lacunae Issue 18, June 2019.

If there is one word that might capture this edition, it is “diverse.” This issue features a range of articles from areas such as cultural theory, social science, philosophy, literature, politics, religion and the virtual world—all filtered through the lens of Freudian-Lacanian psychoanalysis and reflecting aspects of the big Other today in its complexity and changeability. Each of these articles invites the reader to engage critically with them and poses questions about psychoanalysis and its role in contemporary life and psychic health, each making the case for the essential role of psychoanalysis and the place of the unconscious in supporting the contemporary subject now more than ever.

In November 2018, the APPI Annual Congress organisers dedicated the event to exploring Rob Weatherill’s recent book, The Anti-Oedipus Complex (2017), and a number of articles which responded to the book at the congress are captured here. For decades, Rob has been one of Ireland’s most prolific writers in psychoanalysis and has taught generations of graduates, impressing them with his knowledge of different psychoanalytic approaches, philosophy, cultural and critical theory. In the 1990’s, Rob was one of the founding members of APPI which has now grown significantly since its inception. This issue is delighted to celebrate and recognise Rob’s work and his contribution to psychoanalysis and to APPI, then and now.

In “Where Have All the Fathers Gone?” Rob does not hold back in assessing the state of fathers and fatherhood today in contemporary life. He writes unsparingly and incisively about the decline of fathers as a cross-cultural phenomenon and the impact over the last decades of the decline of the big Other for the subject. Subjects struggle to gain a foothold in a symbolic less supported by traditional forms of symbolic authority that invest fathers with the insignia of fatherhood, which has traditionally conveyed an authority-bearing repressive function. The decline of fathers in today’s “atomistic” “postOedipal” world supports what Rob pessimistically calls a “universe of perverted jouissance” and “a clinic of the death drive,” long of course predicted by Lacan himself. But after decades of work and thought, Rob does not conclude pessimistically on the role of psychoanalysis. Quite the opposite in fact, as it is possible to read in his assertions and analyses, a beckoning to psychoanalysis to re-double its efforts in facilitating the assumption of our “history in responsibility (to the other)…[and] witnessing, on the edge of strangeness, meaninglessness and death, in the manner of a vigil, fully awake…”

Dorothée Bonnigal-Katz, in “Post-Modern Psychoanalysis, Anti-Oedipus and Psychosis,” applauds Rob work as an endeavour to recoup and emphasise the radical negativity of the unconscious. Commenting on the loss of this radical negativity, which she links to writers such as Deleuze and Guttari who seek to de-Oedipalise or schizophrenize the unconscious, and to theorise it from the real, she reminds Lacanians that while the unconscious may not be present in psychosis, psychoanalysts work with it anyway. Not only that, but she considers, most interestingly, the difference between the paternal and patriarchy, especially important in an era of the increasing transformation of individual hate into “mass psychosis” and tyrannies of ideal egos.

In “Politics, Heretics, and Oedipus Today,” Rik Loose responds to Rob’s book via Lacan’s aphoristic “the unconscious is politics” by querying whether the book seeks to make the Other which doesn’t exist, exist. As a mode of “heresy,” Lacanian psychoanalysis positions itself, following Lacan, as heretical to the contemporary pursuit of jouissance that ends up as orthodox and mass-produced. His comments about contemporary politics, culture and the state of contemporary psychoanalysis are thought-provoking and utilise The Anti-Oedipus Complex as a foil for thinking about the importance of heresy and orthodoxy.

Alan Corcoran, in “Oh Father! What Father? A Response to Rob Weatherill’s The Anti-Oedipus Complex,” employs The AntiOedipus Complex to assess culture and sexual politics and provide a cultural analysis of the implications of sexual liberation in Ireland and internationally, especially for sexual minorities. His deconstruction of the big Other contextualises “the unconscious is politics” by hinting at the master signifiers that have dominated sexual relations over the last fifty years. He calls for re-assessing notions of “man,” “masculinity” and “fatherhood” in light of their historical significance and recent changes, set against the cruelty and suffering of those who did not conform to traditional tropes of men and masculinity. He poses the Oedipus complex as being far from dead and gone.

In “A Short Digression on the Meaning of Knowledge,” Dan Collins takes up the well-known philosophical epistemological ideal of knowledge known as “justified true belief” (JTB) from Plato to Gethier to Popper, and shows how this can be deliberated on from a psychoanalytical perspective. This adds to JTB the dimension of grammar as well as Lacan’s crucial notion of jouissance, and explains the importance of transference, the symptom and jouissance in knowledge. Knowledge and jouissance are linked initially by Freud who emphasised how individual knowledge is c r e a t e d and also how non-objectively it is worked with in psychoanalysis, and later by Lacan in his notion of the sinthome which, as enjoyed belief, does not involve objective truth.

Hilda Fernandez-Alvarez, in the tantalisingly entitled, “Will a Cyborg Steal my Jouissance: Unconscious Labour and the Enjoying Body of the Virtual,” calls attention to the virtual world’s commodification of the human body in co-producing a space between the human and the virtual, a mediation of human experience akin to Lacan’s notion of “lathouse.” Her article examines how we enjoy, what is permitted, and how the big Other conditions what we desire and enjoy increasingly via virtual technologies and cybernetics. She also makes room for the unconscious and the enjoying materiality of the body as that which is excessive to artificial technologies. Using Jon Rafman’s artwork on dreams, she argues this mimics the unconscious labour at work in Freud’s technique.

Laura Tarafás takes on the important theme of radicalisation in her article, “One of the Worst Things you can Do to a Person Who is Becoming Radicalized is Reject their Words”: Towards a Complex Psychoanalytic Understanding of Islamic Radicalisation.” A new contributor to the journal, she plunges into the perplexing and frightening world of youth radicalisation and argues for the importance of psychoanalytic analysis in advancing understanding of this increasingly worrying area. Drawing from her work and her use of contemporary sources, she connects the process of radicalisation to addiction and opens up this area to the readership in ways that will, no doubt, provoke their thinking.

The issue’s book review is conducted by Carol Owens who reviews Trauma and Race: A Lacanian Study of African American Racial Identity (2016) by Sheldon George. The review draws out the significance of the book in assessing race relations and the dynamics of racial hatred in the USA and what a Lacanian analysis brings, anew, to such an assessment. As well as exploring the work of Toni Morrison and Ralph Ellison, the book considers how the signifier “race” links black Americans to a jouissance of slavery and leads white Americans to perversely embrace transgressive fantasies; the role of contemporary Oedipus; and how “race” is utilised as a signifier of “jouissance” and “jealouissance” by dominant white culture. Sounds like a must-read.

These articles all make jouissance a principal area of focus.

I leave you to enjoy the writings ahead.

Eve Watson, Editor

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Lacunae Issue 17, December 2018

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Welcome to Issue 17. This issue brings to the readership a selection of theory, clinical discussions and case presentations.

In “The Psychoanalytic Clinical Case Presentation, the Case Against,” an article pursuant to a lively clinical seminar in Dublin, Ian Parker sets out his analysis of the problematics of the psychoanalytic case presentation. This analysis is thought-provoking and adds to the consideration of the “impossible” aspects of the profession of psychoanalysis, as set out initially by Freud. The case study is the instrument par excellence of psychoanalytic technique but there are challenges in the presentation of clinical case material posed by Ian that will no doubt resonate with readers.

Rose-Paule Vinciguerra, in “An Intemperate Woman,” presents an interesting case of a woman whose symptomatic bulimia is traced via the pathways of the signifier in relation to her history and her intimate relationships. The case demonstrates the technique of listening well to the intricacies of the analysand’s speech and the role of the signifier in forming the symptom and managing jouissance.

Olga Cox Cameron takes the reader on a tragic journey through Lacan’s fifth, sixth and seventh seminars. With a deep knowledge of the seminars, the inescapable endowment of tragedy in subjectivity is developed through the tragic figures of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, in addition to a consideration of “me phunai” – “better not to be,” variously taken up by Lacan in the seminars. This will inspire readers to return to these important seminars.

In “There is no Contemporary Unconscious,” which is a provocative title, Robert Levy brings his vast experience to bear on thinking about the psychoanalytic institution, the distinctively psychoanalytic notion of the subject, and the importance of Lacan’s idea from his fourteenth seminar that “the unconscious is politics.” A consideration of a Paris Lacanian organisation, Analyse Freudienne, forms part of this lively discussion.

In “Psychoanalysis and Education,” Dan Collins explores another of Freud’s “impossible” professions, that of education, and asks what is it that students “get” when the spark of learning hits. It is similar to the functioning of the joke, he argues. With an ability to render analytic concepts succinctly and with precision, well known by now readers of Lacunae, Dan makes explicit that “teaching” is not about assent but is rather a “flash of insight.”

Michel Ferrazzi, in “Virtual Reality and Phantasy,” draws on his experience of many decades working with children and young people to outline a contemporary case from the adolescent clinic on the highly relevant topics of pornography and virtual reality. He focuses on the role and function of phantasy and the object cause of desire, as well as contemporary discourse, the world of money, consumable objects and unfettered jouissance.

Finally, Mark Roberts offers an extended account of Freud’s and Lacan’s notion of the drive. His analysis ultimately asserts the similarities of the Freudian and Lacanian models and how those challenge philosophical and other accounts of human destructiveness. The notion of the drive is essential to understanding how humanity never fails to live up to ideals of goodness and communitarianism.

I’d like to acknowledge the translators and reviewers of three of this issue’s contributions (Raphael Montague, Olga Cox Cameron, Pauline O’Callaghan, Joanne Conway). This work and the work of the translation panel means the journal can make articles available in English that would otherwise be unavailable.

The next issue will be in Summer 2019 and it will be a themed issue on the role of the father.

Eve Watson

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Lacunae Issue 16, July 2018

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Issue 16 (July 2018) of Lacunae is specially-themed to autism with a translated article by the brilliant Jean-Claude Maleval, “Mottron’s Autist is not Kanner’s”; an interview with Irish autist Dr. Stuart Neilson conducted by Marie Walshe; Rob Weatherill on fatherhood “Being (Not) in the World Without a Father.” Articles also on “Cyberbullying and its Wells of Hatred” by Marco Focchi; Lacanian interpretation via Hitchcock’s films by Dan Collins in “Stealing Money from Offices”; and a book review of Lacanian Psychoanalysis with Babies, Children and Adolescents (Karnac, 2017).

Editorial / Table of Contents

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Lacunae Issue 15, November 2017

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Issue 15 (December 2017) of Lacunae has a host of articles on Kant, interpretation, the “selfie,” a case of psychosis, the Wolfman, transsexuality and Gender Identity Disorder, plus two book reviews of Stijn Vanheule’s book, Psychiatric Diagnosis Revisited: From DSM to Clinical Case Formulation (2017) and Rob Weatherill’s book, The Anti-Oedipus Complex: Lacan, Critical Theory and Post-Modernism (Routledge, 2017). For the first time, a translation of Roman Jakobson’s discussion with Lacan on 1st Feb 1967 in English is published in this issue.

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Lacunae Issue 14, June 2017.

lacunae14Issue 14 (June, 2017) is now published and features Lieven Jonckheere’s fascinating interview with world-famous autist Donna Williams; Alan Rowan on anxiety; Dany Nobus on psychoanalysis and science; Olga Cox Cameron on the three passions of love, hate and ignorance; John O’Donoghue on Kant, Sade and post-truth; and Pauline O’Callaghan reviews Annie Rogers’ recent book on psychosis, Incandescent Alphabets.

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Issue 15 Call for Papers. Issue 15 will be an open issue. Please submit articles to the editor at editorlacunae@gmail.com by September 1, 2017.