Group Acts and Missed Encounters: Lacan and Foulkes
Erica Burman

ABSTRACT: The question 'how to act' transcends false oppositions between not/acting and 'acting out/in' to topicalize instead ethical responsibility and social engagement. This paper takes up these themes from the perspective of group analysis. While some Lacanian psychoanalysis draws a strong boundary around the analytic space, resisting the generalization of psychoanalytic phenomena outside this, the social model of the psyche to which group analysts are committed, means that no such absolute distinctions can be maintained. Paradoxically, group analysts seem rather more reluctant than Lacanians to discuss questions of ethics, preferring instead to talk about questions of democracy, although both models share an understanding of analytical process in terms of the promotion of Ŕif, also the impossibility of) free speech. Some preliminary reflections on the mutual engagement of these two models highlight the need to find ways of both analyzing and intervening in, the contexts that give rise to analysis.

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