DISPUTATIO 1

An approach to what passes

A Disputatio is not a collage of different opinions, but an argumentation by several [à plusieurs], (according to the collegial spirit which is ours), if possible rational.

Patrick Barillot

Where Freud believed that the traumatic nucleus was the specificity of the neurotic, Lacan generalises the traumatic parent to all speakers.

To what does not pass, the for-all of the traumatic parent, Lacan adds the particular of what passes between generations. To the Freudian traumatic nucleus, he substitutes what he calls “roulure1, that is to say: “the learning that the analysand has undergone of a language among others, which for him is lalangue” [« l’apprentissage que l’analysant a subi d’une langue entre autres, qui est pour lui lalangue ».]2

This term of roulure is probably to be understood in its connotation of sexual licence, since roulure is a pejorative term for a prostitute. 

The roulure would therefore indicate that the singular lalangue, which arrives to the child from the Other conveys the enjoyments of this Other, and it would also indicate that at this level something passes from one to the other.

That the maternal language can be the vector of a form of jouissance is found in the characteristic of all lalangue, qualified as obscenity, and we know that obscenity refers, in Lacan, to the jouissance of bodies.

Equivocating between this obscenity and Freud’s other scene, he indicates to us that lalangue is an integral part of this other scene, the unconscious, that language occupies.3


1 In french: roll, (very fam.) street woman, hooker
2 J. Lacan, Séminaire XXIV,  « L’insu que sait de l’une-bévue s’aile à mourre », leçon du 19 avril 1977: « C’est comme ça qu’il s’exprime formellement, à savoir que, à mesure que le sujet énonce quelque chose de plus près de son noyau traumatique – ce soi-disant noyau, et qui n’a pas d’existence, il n’y a que la roulure, que l’analysant est tout comme son analyste, c’est-à-dire… comme je l’ai fait remarquer en invoquant mon petit-fils …l’apprentissage qu’il a subi d’une langue entre autres, qui est pour lui lalangue… »
3 Ibidem: « Lalangue quelle qu’elle soit est une obscénité. Ce que Freud désigne de – pardonnez-moi ici l’équivoque – l’obre-scène, c’est aussi bien ce qu’il appelle l’autre scène, celle que le langage occupe de ce qu’on appelle sa structure, structure élémentaire qui se résume à celle de la parenté. »


Patricia Dahan

 Reply, to this approach on what passes

The association of the two terms: lalangue and obscenity is uncommon in Lacan’s work, but it can be deduced from what he says. In the “Conference in Geneva” Lacan specifies that what will “sustain the symptom”1 is found in the materiality of the words, the motérialisme, i.e. what of jouissance is expressed in lalangue. A little further on, in this same conference, he compares the child to a “sieve through which the water of language is left to pass.”2

The language, before learning to read and write is pure jouissance of speaking word, the affects are directly expressed in lalangue for the child. There is what is transmitted through education and culture and there is what passes, what passes through the “sieve” to leave some detritus, whose analysis can reveal us fragments and surprise us.

1 J. Lacan, « Conférence à Genève sur le symptôme».
2 Ibidem


Colette Soler

Reply: On the « roulure 1», a possible reading

Since the 20th century, the term has been used to refer to a prostitute, in the true sense of the word. A worker of jouissance, of course, but of the Other, the male master. A figurative use is also possible. Lacan uses it in Television evoking as roulures« those sluts who use classicism to fill their piggy-banks» [ceux qui font cagnotte au classicisme]2. Our great Corneille and Racine among others, whose works make walk the streets of the modes of jouissance peculiar to the master’s discourse when they invent the notion of “glory” in which the one of politics and love unite!

Applied to the generation that foist lalangue to the child, it says that the use of lalangue by the educating generation is an “édupation” — in the service of a discourse.


1 In French: roll, (very fam.) street woman, hooker. [NdT]
2 Cf. Lacan J., «Television», Norton & Company, New York – London, 1990, p. 23.


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