Helen Sheehan – Aliens, This Way Please

The Letter Issue 66-67 (Autumn 2017/Spring 2018) Pages 27-35

Aliens, This Way Please

Helen Sheehan

This paper aims to consider the four fundamental concepts of psychoanalysis, as outlined by Jacques Lacan in Seminar XI. Special attention will be paid to his theory of Alienation and Separation.

Keywords: Freud;Lacan; unconscious; repetition; transference; the drive; excommunication; aliens; legislation; alienation; separation; desire.

It is fitting that this group New Studies on Hysteria which is hosting this Conference today has had no permanent place of domicile since its inception. For quite some time, the Milltown Institute offered us a place of refuge but due to its imminent closure we are once again searching for a place in which to work. Some of you will recognise something of the same kind of situation in which Lacan found himself in November 1963 when he was finally excommunicated (a word he himself uses) from the International Psychoanalytic Association. To be more precise, Lacan’s teaching had been the object of censure and a ban on this teaching ensured that he would never again be sanctioned by the I.P.A. Lacan regarded this as tantamount to excommunication. This is of course a religious reference and excludes the possibility of a return within the Jewish tradition while the Christian tradition delights in the one who has been lost coming back to the fold. Lacan was devastated by the decision of his being the ‘subject of a deal’ which was finally taken on November 1963 and he seems to have concluded that his teaching role was at an end. He was to begin his 1963-4 Seminar on the Names of the Father that year. He was reduced to silence. But quickly he found his courage and found too that his desire was stronger than anything that an Institution could impose on him and by January 1964 he had been given a new teaching position…

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