MUST DO IT! New Forms of Demand in Subjective Experience - New York City, March 18-20, 2016

The Clinical Study Days is the annual meeting presented by the Lacanian Compass.

While each Study Days is dedicated to a particular subject, its feature presentations and discussions of clinical case work are done by psychoanalysts and other clinicians sharing the Lacanian approach. The papers presented will involve institutional and private settings.

The Study Days are open to anyone interested in psychoanalysis.

New York City, March 18-20, 2016


Much is made today of certain psychic trends or so-called epidemics in society--the rise of addiction, or depression, or autism, or inattention, and so forth--all of which is frequently linked to changes in social structure--a culture of permissiveness, the decline of the father or authority structures, and the excesses of consumerism.

There is another no less prevalent, but more subtle dimension to these psychic changes--the fact that contemporary subjects are often not striving, desiring pleasure, in some sort of uncomplicated fashion, such as the way in which happiness is measured in psychological or sociological rating scales, fulfilling the Declaration's 'pursuit of happiness.' Rather, that we see the subject driven by sets of imperatives, demands produced for sure in the social world, but at the same time and ever yet more insidiously internalized and reworked as the demands of what, in older Freudian language, was referred to as the superego. Not a desire for some thing chosen by a subject, but a subject incessantly driven by a force, a jouissance, out of control, without limits.

For this conference, we would like to map out these new forms of the demand and of the superego in the twenty first century. In what ways are we seeing the expression of this in the clinic? In the ways in which suffering is articulated today, especially in young people? But, also, to consider as well the ways in which the demands of the external world--due to changes in the development of capitalism and in science--are experienced differently by subjects. The role of gadgets and the development of the iHuman is certainly one dimension of this, but we should not ignore other dimensions of the way in which the organization of day to day life--take such disparate phenomena as social media and advertising, or so-called helicopter parenting, the novel workplace life of Silicon Valley companies, increasing income inequality, or, the 24/7 demands for communication--are having an impact on the subject.

How might the experience of Lacanian psychoanalysis allow a subject to find a way, a compass point, to orient itself in such a world.


Jacques Lacan. Is there a name in psychoanalysis that gets such reaction? Such emotions of admiration, love, hatred, jealousy. But not only that, what he did put people to work: refashioning a psychoanalysis when Freud's followers failed, but also a remarkable legacy of those who work against him, in their talks and books.

We psychoanalysts of the World Association of Psychoanalysis in the United States have sponsored for eight years a Clinical Study Days. This is a place for all those with an interest in Lacan, a curiosity about Lacan, a desire for Lacan to gather and explore clinical work within the orientation laid out by Lacan. For, while Lacan was certainly a prodigious thinker in so many fields, he was above all else a psychoanalyst. And these Study Days are dedicated to exploring clinical work within the orientation laid out by Lacan and by Jacques-Alain Miller.

Indeed, if Lacan is our first point of orientation, Jacques-Alain Miller is our second. It was Miller who Lacan himself identified as the person who was able to read Lacan, a notoriously difficult task. But, beyond that work in the realm of meaning, it was Miller who was able to do something with Lacan and the work that Lacan left us, in all the institutional work led by Miller that has given the world the Schools of the World Association of Psychoanalysis. For it is the Schools that are the means by which psychoanalysis has passed from generation to generation through the formation of new psychoanalysts.

The Study Days give speakers and participants an opportunity to work together with psychoanalysts and a taste of the life of the School.

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