LW cartel: Jouissance & symbolic (dis)order

by Julia Evans on July 30, 2011

Our cartel is registered with the New Lacanian School of Psychoanalysis at Cartels Catalogue 2011-2012

The focus of our cartel work will be Eric Laurent’s article: ‘The Symbolic Order in the XXI Century: Consequences for the Treatment’. This text, given in July 2010, leads to the  VIII Congress of the World Association of Psychoanalysis: (WAP Congress): “The Symbolic Order in the 21st Century” and is available here. In his text Eric Laurent refers to Lacan’s ‘Spring Awakening’ (See End-note) 1974.

Our process: is to meet and present our work on the themes which follow.  Invitations to join us will be given. Our work will also be displayed at LacanianWorks.net/ “LW working group – LW WG” category together with other contributions.

Cartel members with their specific work theme:


Bruce Scott

My work theme: Turning away from negative capability; resistance to acknowledge our fallibilities; becoming our own monstrous Gods


Bruno de Florence

Specific work theme: Art and the lost jouissance


Jo Rostron

work topic: jouissance, art making, speech. I suppose I am (more precisely) interested in the body and ‘action’, which includes art making and speech.


Julia Evans

Work topic: Closed sets in relation to open sets driving Government action – mostly in the UK


Plus One

Pierre Naveau

Work theme: “Irony opposite the symbolic order”


The New Lacanian School of Psychoanalysis describes cartels here and is quoted below. This cartel is registered as a cartel of the school and will work for two years.

What is a Cartel?

A Cartel is the original mode of working suggested to psychoanalysts and those who want to study psychoanalysis. It is a working group that relies on several organising principles that were defined by Jacques Lacan and that take each one’s specific relationship to knowledge into account, which he can elaborate when it is a matter of unconscious causality.

Four people choose each other to work
For the creation of a cartel Lacan suggested three people as a minimum, five maximum, with four being the ‘right measure’. In 1980, he specified the number four. It is the reference number for the majority of cartels today. Meetings happen at a rhythm that is decided between the cartel members, called ‘cartelisands’.

The ‘Plus-One’
The ‘Plus-One’ is chosen by the cartelisands and according to Jacques Lacan is the person “in charge of selection, discussion and the outcome to be accorded the efforts of each” (Foundation Act of the Ecole Freudienne de Paris, of the 21st June 1964). His function is crucial to support the work of each cartelisand with tact, to face difficulties and to maintain a distance between knowledge and truth.

The theme of Work
The creation of a cartel gives each one the opportunity to choose a theme of work: the reading of a seminar, the elaboration of a concept or of a case, the connection between psychoanalysis and other fields, etc. To each person’s theme a common theme is added that becomes the title of the cartel.

Everyone’s own Product
The work carried out does not lead to a collective product on a knowledge taken from the group. It is rather a matter for each one, according to the moment of his relation to psychoanalysis, to emit what could be noted of what was being able to be modified in his relation to analytic knowledge.

A cartel cannot last longer than one or two years. Its necessary conclusion allows the avoidance of noticeable inertia in working groups that become eternal and hinder the appearance of a new knowledge for the subject. The scansion is produced as an event of the cartel that concludes.

Source: www.amp-nls.org

Lacan invented this device as part of his response to “group effects” and aiming at a way of grouping and working in groups that would not be structured according to the logic of the army or the church as described by Freud in his “Group Psychology[i]“: all members of the group putting the same object in the place of the Ego Ideal, narcissistically identified among themselves and following one. The notion of a leader is incompatible with the logic of a Cartel.

Anyone with an interest in Lacanian Psychoanalysis may get involved in Cartel work. There are no requirements (i.e memberships, qualifications, clinical practice) other than wanting to inscribe one’s singular relationship to Psychoanalysis within the framework of the structure described above, that is, to find, interrogate and follow one’s own trait in the reading of the texts.

The two cartel systems

The same basic principles as described above apply to the two cartel systems.

  1. The Digital Cartel is the inter-cartel project of the NLS. Cartel groups meet locally in relation to the theme of the Annual NLS Congress. Reading lists will be provided by the NLS. Each cartelisand is invited to choose a trait or theme that he or she wants to work on as an individual in the cartel but within the confines of the overall theme. It is required that during its existence the cartel produces two clinical vignettes of no more than 3200 signs. These vignettes will be forwarded to another cartel group who will comment on the vignette and, likewise, the cartel group will thus also receive two vignettes that will be commented on. The 10th Annual Congress of the NLS takes place this year in Tel Aviv on 16 & 17 June 2012 and the theme of the congress is “Reading a Symptom”. Needless to say that this theme is absolutely crucial, especially in this day and age. Are our bodies not threatened, if not wrecked, by jouissance? “What singles out the body of the speaking being is the fact that his jouissance feels the impact of speech” (Miller). So speech is the way to deal with this body of jouissance. But, the speech of the body and its symptoms requires that it is read and “reading, knowing how to read, consists in putting distance between speech and the meaning it carries, based on writing as outside-meaning, as Anzeichen, as letter, based on its materiality.” (Miller). The theme for the digital cartels should lead to a lot of interesting products from the cartelisands; the kind of products that are an essential requirement for functioning analytically in the clinic of today, but that  are also important for understanding certain aspects of modern culture.
  2. The Cartel of the School concerns those cartelisands who not only choose each other but also the theme they would like to work on during the one or two years of its existence. Also this cartel is registered with the NLS which means that it can benefit, like the digital cartel, from being part of a world-wide network of people who work within the Lacanian orientation. It is important to mention that benefit does not just imply that one draws personal usufruct from being part of a (Freudian) field that has a long and fruitful tradition, but that one precisely, and more importantly, contributes to this field as it is precisely that which characterizes the psychoanalyst who works within the Lacanian orientation, namely, that he or she produces an effect in the real. Indeed, this effect in the real does not only concern the subject and his or her body but also the subject as the collective.


‘Spring Awakening’ by Jacques Lacan, translated by Silvia Rodríguez and published in Analysis Number Six, 1995 page 32. Originally published in French in Ornicar? no 39 (1986) p5-7: Information on its availability here

[i] ‘Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego’ Sigmund Freud (1921) Standard Edition,Vol 18, page 69, Hogarth Press, 1959: Also Penguin Freud Library P.F.L., Volume 12. Civilization, Society and Religion, page 243


Note : If links to any required text do not work, check www.LacanianWorksExchange.net. If a particular text or book is missing, contact Julia Evans.


Julia Evans

Practicing Lacanian Psychoanalyst in Earl’s Court, London



Further posts:

Some Lacanian history here

Lacanian Transmission here

Of the clinic here

Use of power here

Translation Working Group here

By Sigmund Freud here

Notes on texts by Sigmund Freud here

By Jacques Lacan here

Notes on texts by Jacques Lacan here

By Julia Evans : here  &  here