2nd European Convention, Roma 2021

We would like to invite you in advance to this second meeting with a European dimension — whose main objective is to create continental cohesion between mainly Spain, France, Italy and the plurilingual zone — for which we will obviously call on your collaboration and we would be grateful if you could make a note of the date.

Presentation of the theme

We are questioning the importance of origins, as each of us was born somewhere, at a precise historical conjuncture, and to a specific set of parents. Each of us bears the marks of the social link of the previous generation. The transmission of history at large as well as that of subjective singularities depends on this. What do we notice here? “What happens [ce qui se passe]” between generations – which must be distinguished from what passes [ce qui passe] – regularly happens badly. One generation denounces the other in an eternal dispute between the ancients and the moderns, between the young and the old… Educating is one of the impossible professions, as Freud used to say. Every parent dreams of mastering what one transmits to one’s descendants, to find oneself in them and “for one’s own good” – so they think. Failure is an age-old fact and is guaranteed, even in the best cases. Nevertheless, there is something that passes by way of what happens [se passe] badly between generations, but it is something else and psychoanalysis clarifies it.


Subjects who come to “tell themselves”, almost inevitably, can do nothing less than talk about their antecedents, about the conditions of their birth and development. In the telling of this neurotic family myth, it is always a question of frustrated demands for love, unsatisfied desires and inadequate jouissances. Freud provided a diagnosis of these original sufferings in his third chapter of Beyond the Pleasure Principle – the inescapable appearance of what Lacan called “the traumatic parent”. This is the originary nucleus of what we inherit from those who engendered us, and it marks all future relationships between the subject and the Other with the sign of re-petition. Something is thus inaugurated by way of what happens [se passe].


Necessarily through the discourse that is received, and this supposes a language. The accidents of history, disease, war, famine, etc. are certainly at the root of other traumas, but as for the causation of subjectivities it is «the way in which a mode of speaking has been instilled [in the child]»1 that is decisive. Hence, incidentally, the failure of education. Lacan gave the reason for this in a very convincing formula: it is impossible to account for the desire that operated there. It is this, this desire that cannot be formulated that makes for the hollowness of the educational project and objects to its demands. The result is that what is transmitted below, through desire – and which presides over identifications, because they «are determined by desire»2 – is incalculable, but it is inevitably linked to all of the indexes of the castration of the Other. Hence also – amongst other things – the sometimesimprobable figures that emerge from the tidiest of families. We should speak therefore of the surprises of what is passed and also probably of the cases in which, on the contrary, an iron demand comes to suffocate it in order to “appoint” [nommer à] you, as Lacan says. Yet the discourse that is received not only conveys desire, but also carries an order of jouissance, and the parental saying [dire], with its singular and incalculable desire, is itself taken up in an order that exceeds it, with the identity of the mores and bodily habitus so essential for a sense of identity. This is precisely what subjects living in exile are deprived of. Nevertheless, they cannot be deprived of the words of their language and of the jouissance that it has condensed – the first and ultimate anchoring of what flows from antecedents. The unconscious is not inherited, but rather speaks in a transmitted language that fixes a part of the being of jouissance.

1 J. Lacan, Conférence sur le symptôme, Bloc-Notes de la psychanalyse, n°5, Genève, 1985.
2 J. Lacan, « Du trieb de Freud », Ecrits, Paris, Seuil, 1966, p. 853.


There is, however, another part that does not come from antecedents, which does not pass: the symptom as a fixion of a “body event”. It is the inverse of what is transmitted, a jouissance that occurs, but which was not in the discourse’s program and which is not without lalangue either. Unlike desire, the symptom as body event is not of the Other. Rather, it effects a separation from the Other. Freud with his familial Oedipus, which is in fact a configuration of relations with the Other, raised the hope of reducing the sexual embarrassment of neurotics through psychoanalysis. But clinical facts have resisted and this hope has fizzled out to the extent that we have come to realize that it is sexuality itself that is a symptom, controlled as it is, not by the discursive order, but by singular unconsciouses.


Meeting of the School and Meetings of the IF
Rome, 9, 10 and 11 July 2021

Venue: Roma Eventi / Piazza di Spagna
Via Alibert, 5A – 00187 Roma


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School Meeting

Presentation theme

Language(s) and passe
Elisabete Thamer

This has been an option of our School since its creation: the cartels of the passe are international, therefore multilingual. Since the beginning of our common experience of the passe, we have never derogated from this option. Innovative compared to Lacan’s invention of 1967, this choice raises questions about the passe and its relationship to language, to languages, to lalangue. What is the transmission in the passe? What are the limits? What should a cartel identify? Are the translations a loss or an asset for the passe? What are the consequences of this diversity of languages in the passe system for the School work?

The passe is an experience of transmission, an attempt by the one who ventures it to pass on to the School what led him to take over the analyst’s baton. Now, the passe, like the cure, has not a medium other than speech and, just as in an analysis, it is essential that the passant testifies to the passeurs in a language they share. But does sharing a language guarantee in itself a “faithful” transmission? Nothing is less certain: « Une langue entre autres n’est rien de plus que l’intégrale des équivoques que son histoire y a laissé persister1.» [A language, among other languages, is nothing more than the integral of the misunderstandings that its history has allowed to persist.]

Different elaborations by Lacan, all crucial for the passe, point towards the limits of language and articulated speech: « aporie du compte rendu », [aporia of the report] he said2. Aporia as to the desire (incompatible with the speech3 including the one of the analyst), aporia as to the object, as to the act (in which the subject is subverted), as to the real, as to the opaque jouissance of the symptom, as to the saying that ex-sists to the said… Then, how can we grasp in each testimony of a passe, in what is said there, what escapes the nets of language? Is it in the end a question of language?

No language by itself could ensure flawless transmission. Lacan’s elaborations on lalangue make it obvious. Always singular, lalangue – which the unconscious is made of4 – cannot be reduced to a given language: « lalangue n’a rien à faire avec le dictionnaire, quel qu’il soit5. » [lalangue has nothing to do with the dictionary, whatever it may be]. One can share a language to a greater or lesser extent, but not lalangue.

In our School, the passe involves its lot of translation. First of all that of the passant himself, who has to find the words to say what he knows. Then there is the “translation” that the passeur does of what he has heard in order to pass it on to the cartel. And, finally, the translation of the testimony collected in the languages spoken by the members of the cartel. Would this marquetry of languages around a testimony help or hinder the understanding of the logic of the said and its consequences?

The multilingualism in the passe system favours, from a practical point of view, greater flexibility in the composition of the cartels and contributes to forge working links at the international level. Language(s) and the passe is a theme which condenses both the most structural and singular experience of the passe and the political dimension of our School. We hope that this meeting will be an opportunity to reflect and share the different aspects of our initial option.

1 J. Lacan, « L’étourdit », Scilicet 4, Paris, Seuil, 1973, p. 47.
2 Cf. J. Lacan, « Discours à l’École freudienne de Paris », Paris, Seuil, 2001, p. 263.
3 Cf. J. Lacan, « La direction de la cure et les principes de son pouvoir », Écrits, Paris, Seuil, 1966, p. 641.
4 Cf. J. Lacan, Le Séminaire, livre XX, Encore, Paris, Seuil, 1975, p. 126.
5 J. Lacan, Je parle aux murs [Le savoir du psychanalyste], Paris, Seuil, « Paradoxes de Lacan », 2011, p.18 (leçon du 4 novembre 1971).



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European Convention Archive

Document I – Initial proposal – Letter of 17 August 2018
Document II – European Convention from 12 to 14 July 2019. Protocol for the initiation and organisation of European Conventions.
Document III – European Convention from 12 to 14 July 2019. Financial Regulation of 13 December 2018
Document IV – European Convention from 12 to 14 July 2019. Invitation letter to the candidates for the scientific commission of the 2nd European Convention.
Document V – Report 3rd European Convention Meeting, Rome 11/07/2021.

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How to get

  • By train: Arrive at Roma Termini and take the Metro A line to the Spagna stop, then 4 minutes on foot (350 mt).
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