The Treatment of the Signifier for Children with Autism

The recent term of Disorder of the autismspectrum makes clear that nowadays autism becomes more and more an all-embracing, even empty diagnosis. Beyond this problematic labeling, Psychoanalysis deals with the symptom of the subject as a particular solution for the problem of the desire and the enjoyment of the Other. The symptom of the child can be considered within the structural opposition formulated by Lacan: the symptom as a representation versus a realisation of the truth of the parents. In a case of a ten year old boy with autism a symptom is analyzed in terms of a pure materialisation of the object a. The psychoanalytic intervention, based on the technique of bricolage, attempt to make tolerable and accessible the pure signifier, full of enjoyment of the Other, for the subject.

On the Death Drive: From Compulsion to Repeat to the Reference to The Thing

This article broadly discusses the concept of the death drive. It demonstrates how a biological frame of reference is inadequate for interpreting the (sexual) drive. The notion of the compulsion to repeat helps us to understand why Freud was forced to introduce the death drive and, at the same time, to acknowledge it as being the underlying determining principle of every drive. Making use of the notions das Ding and objet a we show how Lacan’s reading of this controversial concept of the death drive precludes an organic interpretation. Finally, two clinical fragments illustrate how the activity of the death drive may reveal itself.

Outsider Art: On the Importance of Repetition in the Artist’s Work and on the Traces of Matter in his Mastersignifier

In the context of the debate on the art value of outsider art (in the two following senses: valuable art versus devalued art, and the value of outsider art for art history) the author investigates the central place of repetition for the artist in the creative process. Firstly, the surplus-aesthetic-value of an outsider-work-of-art is partly assigned to the manifest repetition that is found in this work. Support for a connection between aesthetics and repetition is found, on the one hand, in the work of established artists like Andy Warhol and, on the other, in Lacan’s seminar L’ éthique de la psychanalyse (1959-1960). Secondly, repetition, as it manifests itself in art, is interpreted as being the frame of the fantasy that protects the subject but that also simultaneously compels him or her. This compulsive repetition is often related to the signifier of the Name-of-the-Father as anchoring point for the fantasy in the work of outsider art artists. Different forms of the repetitive and compulsive appearance of the Name-of-the-Father are illustrated using short vignettes about outsider art artists. Thirdly, the fundamental importance stressed of the material that is repeatedly and compulsively incorporated as object a is established. It is proposed that this material, via association, can be transformed into an independent thinking language from which, via repetition, the master signifier and the signature of the artist develop.

The Voice and the Invocative Drive

Lacan introduced the voice and the gaze as two new objects of the drive, besides the anal, oral and phallic object. In this article the author provides a brief overview of the conceptualisation of the voice and the invocative drive in Lacan’s seminars. This overview permits the characterization of the voice as a tension between sense and nonsense, between speech subjected to the Law on the one hand, and something of the real, the object a as that which should be situated beyond discourse on the other hand. Furthermore, the voice appears to be a special object in that it is not a partial sexual object but rather a subjectifying object. It is the voice of the mother, the mother’s sonata, that “sings a subject into being”. It transmits a certain dimension of the Law, but it also contains its transgression when it abolishes the discontinuities particular to speech. The first period of the invocative drive is the dynamic between the song of the mother and the cry of the child. The second period is that of the real privation of the mother. The Phallus names the mother’s absence in the third period and thus realizes a primordial repression. As a result of this the voice as object is lost between mother and infant. The question of a fourth period of the invocative drive is addressed in the last part of this paper and is related to sublimation on the one hand and the cure on the other.

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Repetition in Psychosis: A Theoretical Question

This article investigates the theoretical issue of whether the concept of repetition is applicable to psychosis. In the neurotic subject, repetition is a reaction to the lack in the Other. The subject is confronted with a lack, a chance event, a question to which he has no answer. As a consequence, the neurotic is passively subjected to the Other. A case study makes it clear that the psychotic reacts differently to the lack in the Other. On the one hand, the psychotic can find an answer in the jouissance of the father and this jouissance will repeat itself during the course of his or her life. This “repetition” can be traced back to the sinthome which is not the case in neurosis. On the other hand, some psychotics may be unable to find an answer to the lack in the Other and they will experience a return in the Real. In these patients, a repetition is traceable, but this time to the concept of le retour dans le réel. Therefore, it is concluded that the application of the concept of repetition is inadequate in terms of the psychotic structure.