Jacques-Alain Miller rekindles war among psychoanalytical schools: "Exas-peration is one thing, but thanks to my exasperation I'm going to change the balance of power in the psycho-analytical milieu"
Usually Jacques-Alain Miller, Lacan's son-in-law and president of the World Association of Psychoanalysis, is a restrained and ascetic man. However, he has now literally exploded against the Revue franaise de psychanalyse, the official organ from the Société Psychanalytique de Paris, which in turn responds to the International Psychoanalytical Association, IPA, (devised by Freud himself and from which Jacques Lacan was excommunicated in 1963). The said magazine has refused to publish his right to reply.
So Miller resolves to start a press bureau, the Agence lacanienne de presse. To that effect he addresses several visiting cards to the Parisian intelligentsia where he states that in view of the refusal of his right to reply being published, he is summoning the enlightened public opinion and will dispense in the near future an open letter, which will be available in bookstores.
What is the matter now between Freudians and Lacanians? Is it just a mere skirmish? Or something bigger, more akin to a leveraged buyout? Jacques-Alain Miller is the trustee of Lacan's writings, all of them. Besides, he holds a major position in the French psychoanalytical milieu. For the last twenty years he strove and succeeded in enlarging Lacan's presence and influence all over the world despite being criticized for the rather personal renderings of Lacan's Seminars.
As time went by relations between Lacanians and Freudians tended to mellow, and today nobody seriously questions Lacan's significance in the psychoanalytical movement.
So this time war is waged between the two French historical psychoanalytical associations. Last June the Revue franaise de psychanalyse published about trends in contemporary psychoanalysis, and one Freudian, Gilbert Diatkine, was particularly intense against Jacques-Alain Miller, disputing the training methods of most Lacanian analysts. Miller requested his right to reply, something civil and innocuous. He was refused on rather peculiar grounds: "this a science magazine, there is no place for contestation."
Miller retorts: "Exas-peration is one thing, but thanks to my exasperation I'm going to change the balance of power in the psycho-analytical milieu."
Paul Denis, chief editor of the Revue franaise de psychanalyse, argues otherwise: "Clearly, this incident does not deserve a fifteen page open letter broadly distributed to bookstores. We are dealing here with a manifesto." To him Miller unequivocally aims at "firmly establishing Lacanism inside IPA's Promised Land," Miller would be launching a hostile takeover to the parent company.
According to Miller he by no means intends to aggress the Société psychanalytique de Paris nor the IPA. In fact "the Société de Paris is France's oldest and largest psychoanalytic association. It plays an important role both at home and abroad. The present incident was born out of my desire to directly address its members, whose opinion I value, and rectify a mistaken account of my exertions that appeared in the Revue franaise de psychanalyse. The publisher flatly denied me the right to reply thus defying the most elementary of press stipulations. It seems to me that due to the importance of the Société, it was the duty of those in charge to set the tone of civilized dialogue. Unfortunately, some of them behave quite badly, they belittle their colleagues, argue their want of responsibility vis--vis the general public, abuse them inconsiderately, acting churlishly. Of course, they fail not to lapidate Lacan as much as they can. As for myself, I'm all for peace between analysts, between Lacanians and the IPA. Yet I don't want an IPA-1963, that which excommunicated Lacan. That sort of IPA is out of tune in the year 2001. I think that psychoanalysis needs the IPA, but one tolerant and broad-minded, open to the diverseness of the psychoanalytical movement."
* Abstract from the 1st bulletin Agence lacanienne de presse and La grosse colre du gendre de Lacan in Libération, 09/07/2001.
* lacan.com exclusive for the US