Lacanian Psychoanalysis in the Twenty-First Century

  • Duane Rousselle


Jacques Alain Miller, in his presentation on the theme for the 10th Congress of the World Association of Psychoanalysis (WAP), noted that “psychoanalysis is changing […] and this change is so obvious […] that [the last two Congresses] have each carried in their title the same temporal mention: ‘in the twenty-first century.’” (Miller, 2014). The first thing we should notice in this passage is that the words “change” and “twenty-first century” seem to be roughly synonymous. The fact that psychoanalysis is changing brings with it the implication that this has something to do with a shift from the twentieth century toward that of the twenty-first century. It is within the context of these remarks that I have read Thomas Svolos’ (2017) newest book as an attempt to raise this emergent reality once again to the dignity of a title: Twenty-First Century Psychoanalysis. I shall add to the aforementioned two signifiers a third: “situation.” The change of the twenty-first century seems to have something to with the fact that the psychoanalytic situation of the United States has for a long time been viewed as “defunct, bankrupt, in decline” (Svolos, 2017, p. 222). We might conclude from this that it is not at all “twenty-first century,” properly speaking, and that its fate had already been settled, therefore, as “a twentieth century aberration” (Svolos, 2017, p. 222).