André Michels – Institutions and Law – A Contribution to a Theory of Transmission

THE LETTER 12 (Spring 1998) pages 66-85


I have three questions but maybe no answer:

Firstly: What do we mean when we speak about the end of an analysis’? Without a doubt, there is a world of difference whether an analysis is brought to an end or not. Secondly: What kind of institution best accommodates psychoanalysis and which one takes into account its specificity?

These two questions are in fact one and the same and are very closely related to a third one: What has psychoanalysis to say about law? What doespsychoanalysis, as a practice and theory, teach us about law? What would be a typical psychoanalytic reading, an interpretation, of law? Law, in this context, is considered insofar as a subject is concerned, and so the question becomes: What is a subjective relation to law? Or, what are the subjective effects of law?

This is, I think, the kernel of any ethical questioning and investigation and this, not only from a psychoanalytic perspective- In fact, is there, or could there be, any difference between a psychoanalytic and a general approach to ethics? It is on this very point precisely that an opening of psychoanalysis onto the other principle, fundamental discourses can take place. These discourses can thereby be articulated in a way which is not necessarily the same as Lacan has defined it in his seminar on the so-called ‘four-discourses’.

The three questions mentioned above are closely linked together and need to be formulated in a different way. They rely on one major and far- reaching issue, which contributes to founding the psychoanalytic field and which, at the same time, goes beyond its own boundaries, its specific limitations. This issue is the question of transmission, which permits a different…


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