The ECF in progress

Angelina Harari – Hello to the ECF! First of all, I would like to thank you for your welcome and in particular for providing the place and the technical team for this interview. A warm welcome to Eric Zuliani, Anaëlle Lebovits Quenehen and Patricia Bosquin Caroz. Thank you for accepting the invitation of Mondo Dispatch, the online publication of the World Association of Psychoanalysis (WAP), which is inaugurating its first issue with the École de la Cause freudienne (ECF) and the crucial question that is currently being played out in the institutional life of your School, concerning the pass. The text of this interview will be published in the section “Panorama of the Schools”, devoted to one School each time. Its content has been designed for a digital format. Mondo Dispatch contains two texts: the letter from the President of the WAP, in the form of an editorial, written by Christiane Alberti; and the “Panorama of the Schools”, which will publish an interview with one School per issue. I am addressing, respectively, the president of the ECF, the vice-president of the ECF and the plus-one of the ad hoc cartel of the Collège de la passe.

I am going to start by asking all three of you some crucial questions about the pass. In order to address the current state of the pass in the ECF, let’s go back to the recent convocation of the Collège de la passe, with about thirty people who met several times and examined the root causes of this crisis. What can you tell us about what gave rise to this crisis? Is the crisis over?

Éric Zuliani – First of all, I would like to say that, not having gone been through the pass myself, I almost literally plunged into this College at the beginning my mandate as president. I believe that the pass had been reduced, contracted, over the last few years, to a single thing: the testimony. It was precisely the testimonies that took place during the 51st Journées of the School that gave rise to the crisis, which was interpreted as such by Laurent Dupont in summoning the College. There was a second thing too, which was that the pass was very much cut off from the School. I had been the secretary of the School in the Directorate since 2014, I was due to become president in December 2021, and the pass, I only grasped it on the basis of the testimonies; I didn’t see the link that there was between the Directorate and the pass. And the whole work of the College – I’ll end on this point – consisted in taking the pass apart in order to lay out all the elements of its procedure, and there are many. This is what I can say about some of the mainsprings of the crisis of the pass.

Patricia Bosquin-Caroz – For my part, what I can say about what provoked the crisis of the pass is that it has to do with a question that I ask myself and that I asked myself when I wrote for the Blog: is what we witnessed during the 51st Journées, in the end, an exceptional event, that of hearing an inauthenticity of the pass? It was a first. In some testimonies, not all, there was a pass. I said to some colleagues: “I have the impression of hearing reports. In other words, what was missing was the enunciation of the pass. I should underline: not for all. And for some, it was a shock. I think that it revealed something dysfunctional – in any case, according to me and according to other colleagues who were there, and with whom I discussed the matter directly. It’s a revelation that has taken hold little by little, over ten years. It has slipped away. One could say that the question of the enunciation of the analyst of the School (A.S.), of the particularity of a nomination, has been abraded by the fact that we began to admit, into the procedure of the pass, people who should not have presented themselves or, in any case, been accepted. We thus began to welcome a diversity of testimonies and, ultimately, of transmissions.

Angelina Harari – Questions about admission to the system?

Patricia Bosquin-Caroz – In one of the texts published on the Blog, I called it “the multi-purpose pass”. Basically, one does the pass to obtain a viewpoint on the transferential question, on a transferential impasse, or to obtain a quilting point for a very long analysis from which one has not managed to emerge – in short, different things – all of which have their clinical value.

Angelina Harari – Perhaps a word about the “Blog de la passe”?

Éric Zuliani – This Blog of the Pass has been an adventure. It was initiated by Laurent Dupont, who was coming to the end of his mandate. Then the new Directorate took over from January 2022. This Blog of the Pass was very interesting and was an essential element in the work on the crisis of the pass. There was the College, which worked regularly, and this Blog, which was open to the members of the School and welcomed their texts. There were two periods: first the period, let’s say, of analysing the crisis, of bringing to light the sources of the crisis; then, from March-April onwards, there was a second period of the Blog, with the accent placed on the expression “a lion only springs once”,[1] because the College had proposed new rules, a key part of which being – and we will come back to this – “One only does the pass once”.

Thus, the members were involved in the reflection on the pass, in parallel with the work of the College. There were some good texts examining the sources of this crisis. Then the perspectives, in a second phase of the blog – a phase to which I will return – which was very interesting and which led the whole of the School towards the decisive conference. And, of course, doing the editorials for all these Blogs has taught me a lot about the pass, its history, etc.

Angelina Harari – So, we’ll move on to another question: what can we say about recent trends concerning the orientation of the pass beyond the limit of testimonies?

Patricia Bosquin-Caroz – Perhaps the orientation could be to return to the enunciation of the pass. This is not without the new measure that was decided at the Collège – I am addressing my two colleagues here – concerning “one only does the pass once”. Basically, it would be a question of returning to an impetus [élan], one might say an enunciative impetus, of the pass, and not to the completeness of a transmission that would be based solely on statements. It’s not that the pass has been that either recently, but there has been a risk in the repetition of requests to enter the procedure. A risk, in fact, of reducing the pass to these statements. It’s therefore a return, in a way, to this authenticity, to this impetus.

Angelina Harari – So, the impetus changes?

Anaëlle Lebovits-Quenehen – It is the impetus that is articulated at the end of the analysis and therefore at the conclusive pass. Patricia pointed out earlier that there was a kind of use of the pass, so multiple that one could get lost in it, and that, on the other hand, the Commission had a lot of work to do, as it let in candidates for the pass based on criteria that were not sufficiently restricted. With more candidates, the Commission had its work cut out. The time devoted to each pass was probably reduced somewhat as a result. With the work of the College, there has really been a refocusing on the end of analysis, the passage to the analyst, with the idea that the Pass Commission must really focus on this and no longer receive all sorts of requests that may, in other respects, be addressed to it.

Angelina Harari – So, “the one-time pass” will also have an effect on the Commission, in the sense that…

Anaëlle Lebovits-Quenehen – In the rules, the fact that the director of the pass will be very attentive about who enters the device, so that people who should not enter it don’t waste their chance. The candidates will be, in a way, screened in advance, and this will allow, in a second time, if it presents itself again for them, and if there is more of an indication for it, to be able to present themselves again.

Patricia Bosquin-Caroz – Well, Anaëlle, I am really hearing something new today! It has to be said that the “one-time pass” was voted by a large majority, but it was not without debate. It was not passed by sleight of hand, as they say. There are people who spoke out at this decision-making conference against this principle. Well, I am hearing something new here: “the pass once” yes, but you can present yourself several times to the director of the pass. So, in the end, it’s a chance.

Anaëlle Lebovits-Quenehen – Exactly!

Patricia Bosquin-Caroz – It’s a chance, because if one is admitted to the procedure, if one is let in, then…

Angelina Harari – The decision-making conference was the moment when the rules of the pass at the ECF were approved, right?

Éric Zuliani – Exactly.

Patricia Bosquin-Caroz – So, at most, it gives more chances to the candidates to succeed – I don’t really like this term, but, all the same, it’s a test.

Éric Zuliani – There’s something I would like to say. Lacan created a School, and what became clear to me is that the pass and the School are two concepts that Lacan introduced, which are, from my point of view, of equal value. This equal value had been somewhat lost, that is to say that the question of the pass and of testimony had perhaps taken up too much space; and, in a certain way, we could no longer see the link with the School. In 1964, Lacan traced the path of the decided worker. And in 1967, he traced that of the pass. When he introduces this question of the pass, it seems to me that he doesn’t think of it from the point of view of the candidates [impétrants], that is to say, of those who would do the pass, but from the point of view of the School. Now, in the debate on the Blog, the second part, around “the pass once”, was interesting in this regard. First, the tone of the texts was not that of an opposition between those for and  those against, it was more subtle than that. There was, in fact, an point of indecision. I then realised that calling the conference ‘decisional’ implied that there was a decision to be made that day. And indeed, either the decision was made from the point of view of the candidate [impétrant], the one wanting to do the pass, and then indeed, “the pass once” appeared a bit harsh. Or we can think about this “one-time pass” on the basis of the question, “what kind of pass does the School need”, and then it’s more obvious. A little more than 90% voted for it – Anaëlle said that it was more out of confidence in the work that had been done by the College, a confidence in the School, and we had testimonies from people who were undecided until the end…

Anaëlle Lebovits-Quenehen – A confidence in the College, of course, but the College has produced very valid arguments for the proposals, which have made it possible to have such confidence.

Angelina Harari – We will discuss these shortly. Can we make a connection between the inflation of pass testimonies at events, and the “rise to the zenith” of the object a in consumer society where the speaker himself becomes an object sacrificed to the value of the spectacle?

Patricia Bosquin-Caroz – Do you have something to say about this?

Éric Zuliani – Yes, absolutely. I think it’s linked to what I said at the General Assembly last Friday. It was something Patricia said in the early days of analysing the mainsprings of the crisis. I was struck by the way she broached it, in the form of a question, which was: “Has the spirit of the times infiltrated the device of the pass?” Why did she say this? It seems to me, having spoken with her about it, that it’s because the spirit of the times has to do with the spectacle. Moreover, the Blog began with a text by Xavier Gommichon on this question of the spectacle: “Has the pass come to meet up with the subjectivity of its time, not in order to interpret it, but to, in a certain way, to become diluted in it”. This was Patricia’s question and she took it up in relation to the testimonies…

Patricia Bosquin-Caroz – Yes, the erasure of the singular and authentic enunciation of the pass, which was obviously characteristic of the 51st Days. We ultimately come back to this dimension. Finally, the colleague who wrote on the Blog also spoke of this dimension of the spectacle. Do you remember? The dimension of the escabeau, of recounting oneself, and a kind of self-satisfaction too.

Anaëlle Lebovits-Quenehen – It seems to me that there were three elements. Firstly, there was the large quantity of testimonies; then, as you point out, Patricia, the question of enunciation, which was not always there – so it concerns the quality of a certain number of testimonies, but the quality in relation to the quantity as well, which undoubtedly favoured the fact…

Patricia Bosquin-Caroz – Absolutely, the quantity!

Anaëlle Lebovits-Quenehen – … that we notice it. There is no doubt a third element to this question of the quality and quantity of testimony. This is what Eric was saying just now: we did not discuss the testimonies at all. During that Journées, things were set up in such a way that the testimonies were presented one after the other, without discussion. So much so that this too is perhaps in keeping with the subjectivity of the time, it is as if the A.S., even the newly appointed ones, were assumed to have a definitive knowledge of what they had presented, and that it was not necessary to discuss or question what they had said afterwards.

Angelina Harari – An “A.S. dixit” effect?

Anaëlle Lebovits-Quenehen – It seems to me that the crisis started with a combination of these three elements. The third was that at one point, there was no longer even the idea that the A.S. were going to be offered – because, at bottom, it is something that is offered to them – someone who would come to discuss, to question, to emphasise, to extract points or to go beyond what the testimony had been able to deliver. It was as if the testimony had closed in on itself, that its truth was included in it and definitively acquired. The discussion, when there was one, made it possible to extract crucial and very interesting elements, not only for the A.S. themselves – many testified to this – but also for the working community to which these testimonies are exposed.

Éric Zuliani – There is this side: “I am what I say”. And as we just come out of the 52nd ECF Journées, which have just taken place, in a way, this “I am what I say”, which we put on the programme [as the title] of the Journées, is a response. It is perhaps an interpretation, we’ll see, of the fact that the School has put the A.S. in the same configuration. This is something I’d like to insist on too.

Patricia Bosquin-Caroz – Yes, it’s very important. The A.S. is put on stage by the School. It’s not the A.S. alone, self-proclaimed, who impose themselves on a Journées. They are given this escabeau. At the same time, at the penultimate Journées, there were so many testimonies that they were reduced to ten minutes. In ten minutes, there was no time for discussion. So, we are all responsible for what happened there. It’s not the A.S. alone. They did what they could with the time they had. I’m talking about the authentic A.S., because we had enunciations all the same. Thus, we can see that the A.S. are part of the School, they’re not all alone. So, it’s a crisis that interprets the School itself.

Angelina Harari – I have another question. Recently, in Brazil, Laurent Dupont commented on the equivocation, in French, of the expression “interprète de l’École“. Is the pass the interpretation of the School or is it the School that is interpreted by the pass, or both? How do we understand the statement “the A.S. interprets the School [d’École]”? And what is it to interpret the School?

Anaëlle Lebovits-Quenehen – In the Pass Blog, I proposed, at the very start, that precisely, in the absence of the A.S. interpreting the School, it was the School that had interpreted the pass. It’s true that we expect this of the A.S. So, you are quite right to ask the question: what does this mean exactly? One expects the A.S. to interpret the experience of the School. There are undoubtedly several ways of understanding this, but a first, fairly basic one is to consider that, when there is a malaise in the School, the place of the A.S. is to authorise themselves to name it, first of all. Then, to interpret it means: to allow oneself to find one’s bearings within it, to give it a meaning that allows one to grasp the point that the malaise is dealing with, the point that is repressed or put aside, and from which one defends oneself. What is the real at stake?

Angelina Harari – We are here with those in positions of authority: the president and the vice-president of the ECF. I think there is a difference between the “A.S. interpreters of the School” and such positions in the School.

Anaëlle Lebovits-Quenehen – Exactly. It’s precisely insofar as he or she is not caught up in such positions… It’s a question of being able to interpret the School without being in the Directorate and the presidency, etc.

Angelina Harari : In a function, you always have to be open to contingency and decide, to make decisions, but it’s not the same thing.

Anaëlle Lebovits-Quenehen – It’s completely different, but let’s say that one of the ways of interpreting is to be able to name things and then, in a second stage, find a way to orient oneself in relation to what constitutes the malaise. There are also two other ways of hearing this ‘interpretation’. It could consist of grasping an aspect of civilisation that could possibly endanger the analytical discourse and which might otherwise have been missed. A recent example is the question of interpretation, which Jacques Alain Miller shows is precisely in danger when we can no longer question this or that type of person, because their status as a legal subject would rule out any possible question. This would be another way of “interpreting the School”. And then there is perhaps also the question of the production of knowledge in the School.

Patricia Bosquin-Caroz – I’d like to come back to Angelina’s question about this “A.S. interprets”. J.-A. Miller pointed out that we’ve been waiting for the A.S. to interpret for a very long time; should we still expect the A.S. to interpret?

Éric Zuliani – Yes, absolutely.

Patricia Bosquin-Caroz – J.-A. Miller raised this question and I say to myself, finally, that there are many other people who, without being an A.S., have interpreted the School to date. In the Journal of the 38th Journées of the ECF, I remember a person who interpreted the crisis of the pass that was to come. It was not an A.S. and was even someone who had not been nominated. And, from this position, he interpreted the School. So, “the A.S. interprets”, it would take something to happen for…

Angelina Harari – So, a non-nomination is also at the level of, let’s say, the device.

Patricia Bosquin-Caroz – It’s mysterious… What is an A.S. who interprets? Perhaps we should go back to what it is to be an A.S. who interprets the School. There must be, at the beginning, a transference to the School, a very decided transference – at least to psychoanalysis. This is perhaps something that has been less present. Finally, perhaps this question of transference to the School has become watered down, that is to say, the moment when the transference to the analyst falls at the end of the analysis, which should be verified by the secretariat of the pass, for example. One does not do the pass just for oneself. There is a link to the School.

Éric Zuliani – That is to say that there could be, in certain cases, a transference to ‘my pass’, to ‘my testimony’, to ‘my story’, a testimony that has been repeated a lot during the three-year mandate and one didn’t see the transference to the School throughout. This is what I said at the beginning: the concept of the School is just as important as that of the pass.

Anaëlle Lebovits-Quenehen – Besides, A.S. means “analyst of the School”, we should not forget that. I was responding to Angelina, who asked: what does it mean to be an interpreter of the School? It’s true that, as J.-A. Miller noted, we haven’t seen much of that. Nevertheless, we can answer the question: What would it be to “interpret the School?”, even if it is not, in fact, verified by experience. Moreover, this is an answer that is undoubtedly not definitive.

I would just like to modulate a little what Eric said when he emphasised the testimony. This has undoubtedly not prevented the A.S. from being very authentically at work. But it seems to me that the form of testimony, so repeated, so repetitive, especially when it becomes the only way in which an A.S. expresses himself throughout the two or three years of his teaching, can screen the sometimes very valid productions that are there and that we don’t even see any more, so much is it screened by the “I” – the first person singular.

Angelina Harari – Can we already see modifications of the teaching of the pass in the ECF, following the new rules approved by the members? Can we already foresee changes in the teaching?

Patricia Bosquin-Caroz – I’ll leave it to you to answer, because you have some ideas on the question.

Éric Zuliani – It’s more than an idea, since there will be a Study Day entitled, “Les entretiens sur la passe”, which will take place on 17 June 2023, and which will be entirely devoted to the pass. A few years ago, I had the chance to attend this kind of study day. I used to go up to Paris – monter  à Paris  as we say in the provinces – to attend study days entirely devoted to the question of the pass, where not only the A.S. intervened, but also the jury, who spoke about their work. So, a whole group of analysts took part who had a role to play in the device of the pass and who transmitted something about it. Because there is not only a question of the A.S., there is also the question of the teaching of those who act within the device itself.

Anaëlle Lebovits-Quenehen – There will also be teaching evenings that will have to change their form, since instead of all the A.S. intervening at the same time, the evening will be based on the proposal of a particular A.S. A certain number of evenings are planned for this purpose, and an A.S. can come and say: “I would like to do such and such a teaching that evening”. This is something that will no doubt be very interesting. It has been said that there was perhaps a lack of discussion following the last testimonies. It would be exciting if these evenings could be used for debate. These evenings in particular, but I think that this is true, in a general way, of all teaching: as soon as there are questions, difficulties that are exposed rather than smoothed out, it is always exciting, but perhaps in particular when an A.S. produces knowledge.

Éric Zuliani – What’s interesting is that, here, we see the importance of the A.S. as interpreter of the School. He is also an interpreter of the crucial problems that the School runs up against – Anaëlle gives the example of the actuality of interpretation. Basically, it is a question of expecting an A.S., beyond his or her testimony, to grasp the crucial problems that are often at the junction between psychoanalytical problems, questions of the School, and questions of the times in which we are living.

Anaëlle Lebovits-Quenehen – To take up the flash points where they are. Basically, I say to myself that an A.S. can do something that a non-A.S. can also do, for example teach. Nevertheless, in the impetus [élan] of the end of the analysis, of the passage to the analyst and of the act of presenting oneself for the pass, then of being named A.S., perhaps there is a kind of intrinsic ‘youthfulness’ of an A.S., which means that he or she can do things differently.

Patricia Bosquin-Caroz – Can’t we say that certain testimonies – the first testimony for example – are also an interpretation of the School and, in any case, of psychoanalysis? An A.S. is supposed to bring something new, because it is on this point that he or she is named. If we take the pass as having the structure of a Witz, we still expect this discovery [trouvaille], this invention, because what is being demonstrated? Yes, there is no sexual relationship, but what are we inventing? This is where there can also be an interpretation of the School, through the testimony.

Éric Zuliani – Not to be fascinated by the question of testimony, but to be much more attentive to the finding [trouvaille]. He was named, but on what basis was he named? We must be able to read it.

Anaëlle Lebovits-Quenehen – In the same way that we can consider that a testimony that is not satisfactory interprets the School, in one way or another, a satisfactory testimony does so as well, because it also says where the pass is. It is a very good indicator of the current state of the pass, and therefore also of the School, because the School is the School of the pass – our School, specifically. And, of course, in turn, the current state of psychoanalysis too.

Angelina Harari – In the ECF’s new rules, “the one-time pass” is provoking questions and debate in the other Schools of the WAP. It is understood as a rule that has been produced, in the first instance, by the need to interrupt what had become an automaton. But what guarantees that it will not, in the long run, become another, arbitrary automaton?

Patricia Bosquin-Caroz – That’s a real question!

Éric Zuliani – It’s not a question of interrupting, it’s not that. I mean, for me, it’s not that, but rather a question of returning to the spirit of the pass, as Lacan wanted it for his School.

Anaëlle Lebovits-Quenehen – Exactly. Lacan himself thought of the pass once, never twice. And J.-A. Miller himself proposed, in a concern, he said, for justice, that one could “possibly” do it twice. And experience shows that from two times, we go on to three, then four, and then why would it stop there? So, the “one-time pass” is not arbitrary at all.

Angelina Harari – You pick up on the word arbitrary, but Patricia said, “That’s a real question!” So, I would like to know why? Because my questions are provocative.

Patricia Bosquin-Caroz – When we see the history of the pass, when we look at the history of the School, the successive crises, we can see that certain things are inventions at a given moment, and then we very quickly fall into a routine.

Anaëlle Lebovits-Quenehen – This is beyond routine, Patricia. J.-A. Miller said “twice” and we’ve now gone to four times. It’s exponential!

Patricia Bosquin-Caroz – Who can guarantee that we won’t fall into a certain routine? And this will depend on the way in which we are going to be and remain awake to all these questions, because we may very well – not now, but in a few years’ time – find ourselves with a secretary or a director of the pass who does things in a very automatic way: “No, only once!” We don’t know what can happen…

Angelina Harari – I have another question, which may also have an interesting link with this. In the past, a number of A.S. were appointed by taking the pass twice, and in other Schools, sometimes three and even four times. With the ‘one pass’, doesn’t the School risk depriving itself of a very rich teaching?

Anaëlle Lebovits-Quenehen – It seems to me that this question has been answered to some extent by saying that the screening conducted by the director of the pass takes account of the “one-time pass”. So, it is probable that in the perspective of the “one-time pass”, they will be much more attentive to who enters or does not enter the device, so that perhaps the people who were once appointed after two attempts, today, would not enter the first time, but only the second time. So, we will not be deprived of hearing them. This point is present and worded exactly in these terms in the arguments.

Patricia Bosquin-Caroz – I think it is very important to say this, because it has not been heard as such, but, indeed, it is a form of guarantee.

Anaëlle Lebovits-Quenehen – In any case, an attention – a guarantee, we don’t know, because we are never completely sure -–but in any case, great attention will be taken.

Patricia Bosquin-Caroz – So one can say: “It’s not the time”, “It’s not yet”, “One more effort”, but it’s true, that doesn’t prevent someone who is determined to take the step of entering the pass from doing so.

Anaëlle Lebovits-Quenehen – Exactly!

Angelina Harari – You have answered the question: “How do you see the function of the director of the pass?” Do you want to add anything?

Anaëlle Lebovits-Quenehen – The director is present at all levels of the system. We’re not going to go into detail, because we could spend an hour on this, but it seems to me that the essential function, apart from this one which is obviously crucial, is to be able to identify a person in charge and an interlocutor for what has to do with the pass.

Éric Zuliani – In the work of the College, which lasted for several months, from January to October 2022, we saw the period of reflection after the analysis of the sources of the crisis. In the project that was drafted, proposed and worked on by the College, the function of director took on a great deal of importance and we understand the logic of this. This rise in importance of the function of the director of the pass goes hand in hand with the fact that “one only does the pass once”. That is to say, there is now a precaution, a whole process, involving the director interviewing the candidate, for example. But beyond that, it is very striking that the director has to talk, not only with those who ask to enter the device, but also with the Analysts Members of the School (AMS), the passers, the plus-ones of cartels, the Directorate, etc.

Patricia Bosquin-Caroz – I would like to add that this is a great novelty, because before, there was a separation between the pass, the device, the Commission… between all these devices and the Council, the Directorate of the ECF. Now, can you say something about this link, which is new or which has at least been updated?

Éric Zuliani – First of all, having had the experience of this link as secretary of the Directorate under the presidency of Patricia and Christiane, it was a very tenuous link, discreet, not always easy. It has become much lighter, much simpler, because we have already entered into conversation with the director of the pass. What else can I say?

Patricia Bosquin-Caroz – But, for example, the director is now included in the Collège. That’s a new thing too.

Éric Zuliani – So, there’s an innovation in the new regulations. From now on, the College will meet regularly, which means that it has also become a key part of the School’s work.

Angelina Harari – It has been a long time since the last College of the Pass. Why had it not been convened for so long?

Éric Zuliani – There was one twelve years ago, but it wasn’t conclusive, and it didn’t work. So, it hadn’t been held for a very long time. I wonder why, because the College that we’ve known and that worked for all those months produced fascinating work. It was really a work of the School.

Patricia Bosquin-Caroz – And it was a College that came out of a crisis. And a crisis is invigorating, whereas the previous Colleges had fallen into a kind of automaton of the meeting and, at the same time, were very cut off from the current affairs of the School.

Anaëlle Lebovits-Quenehen – I thought I understood – I wasn’t there, of course – that there had been Colleges convened for previous crises that had been less… Éric Laurent noted that in the last College, the discussions, the debates and the work done was quite exceptional and not very representative of the atmosphere of the previous Colleges of the Pass. We were extremely lucky. Let’s say that this one seems to have brought something new in terms of the quality of the exchanges that took place.

Éric Zuliani – É. Laurent mentioned the crisis of the 1990s, indicating the difference he saw in this College.

Angelina Harari – And you said that, in the new rules, the convocation of the College of the Pass would be regular – which means?

Éric Zuliani – Every two years.

 Patricia Bosquin-Caroz – This is something that has changed in relation to the previous regulations, where the College could be solicited or questioned, but there was no provision regarding how regularly it would meet.

Éric Zuliani – The rules for the pass were established in 1982, I believe, for the first one, and they have changed very little, only very slightly until 2015, the last time they were modified. It gave me a strange feeling to see what was proposed, the way it was drawn up. It is very different in its drafting, very different from the rules that had been in force since 1982. That struck me.

Anaëlle Lebovits-Quenehen – It includes within itself the principle of difference, in that it is capable of evolving. This is the reason why the College of the Pass now meets every two years. It’s precisely so that we don’t have to wait ten years, so that we come to a crisis where, really, the symptom, which has sometimes presented itself from the start, has grown so big that it’s the elephant in the room and we can no longer see anything else. Every two years, from now on, we can go back to the regulations, adapt it, modify it, in order to try to take into account the difficulties that have arisen, because they will necessarily arise. And it is also a way of fighting against the automaton that always threatens to ensue. The idea, with this very regular meeting that still leaves two years to see how things unfold, is to take account of experience.

Éric Zuliani – For example, all the functions with which the Director of the pass has been entrusted, she must now experiment with this and we will have to see if it is tenable for two years.

Patricia Bosquin-Caroz – So that we can look back on the basis of experience.

Angelina Harari – You say “she”…

Éric Zuliani – Yes, absolutely. Anne Lysy is going to be the director of the pass. And so, the College is going to become a place where one can finally speak about the experience, both for the youngest and for the members of the cartels. It is a place that is necessary so as not to have to wait for a problem to crystallise.

Anaëlle Lebovits-Quenehen – Yes, all sorts of questions will be asked there: about the screening of passers, about extimes, why not the question of testimonies: are we going to run out of them, or will there always be as many as there are?

Angelina Harari – And the last question on the passe: can you tell us something of the way in which the Pass Commission took the sense of unease provoked by the first testimonies of the A.S. it named at the time of ECF Journées in 2021? Can each of you say something about this?

Éric Zuliani – Listen, I think, and I insist on this point again, that the School has made itself responsible for the crisis by interpreting it and by convening this College. This happened very quickly. Why do I say this? Because, as a result, within the College, I believe everyone agreed that there was a problem. The examination was carried out quite quickly, and texts were very quickly published on the Blog about this: these were the famous and very effective “Five Minutes” produced by the thirty-two members of the College, in a round table discussion from Z to A…

Angelina Harari – In reverse?

Éric Zuliani – In reverse, that’s it! The members of the College each spoke for five minutes on this question: why are we here and what happened? This was published on the Blog very quickly, showing in a largely authentic way that everyone was responsible for this crisis.

Angelina Harari – There was a report of the meetings of the College of the Pass that was published on the Blog?

Éric Zuliani – Absolutely. There were very detailed and precise reports. There were communiqués made to the members. Let’s just say that it wasn’t the College cut off from the members of the School. There was the question of the members, but there was also internal work in the College. I think the Commission saw the elephant, to use that expression again.

Patricia Bosquin-Caroz – I can’t speak for this Commission. I don’t know how they took it, one by one no doubt. Of course, they worked in the College, we all worked together, but we can still emphasise – because there is a lot of talk about testimonies – that what was in question was the Commission’s judgement. The question of the group effect was raised, which is why we are back to two cartels and not a commission in which some people are more easily silenced and others prevail with their words. We mustn’t forget that, and then the famous question raised by one of J.-A. Miller’s first texts on the question of discernment and judgment. This commission was called upon to address this point.

Angelina Harari – The first text by J.-A. Miller?

Éric Zuliani – The one on the Blog, the one that was published when the Blog was launched. It was done very quickly. I think at the end of January 2022.

Angelina Harari – Well, thank you for your answers on the crucial question of the pass in the ECF. I have two more small questions and I will ask them both. What is new at the ECF? And what innovations have there been in the general activities of the School?

Éric Zuliani – I was vice-president during Laurent Dupont’s mandate for two years and the pandemic pushed us, forced us – it was a forced choice – into innovation. For two years, there were many innovations, and this did not stop: we mainly provided ourselves with tools that made it possible to maintain the desire for psychoanalysis in the face of the pandemic. More recently, and no doubt in a certain continuity, we created the Campus of the ECF. Right at the heart of the School, there are seminars, which are addressed to students, let us say to the student, in a very powerful way. This is undoubtedly linked to the reflection initiated by Christiane Alberti and taken up again in the Directorate, on the question of youth, which has focused on the question: how can we arouse their desire… by the way we speak to them, and ultimately by proposing teachings that would hold their attention.

 Anaëlle Lebovits-Quenehen – It is true that this question of youth is important to us. I don’t know if it’s new, but it’s a current issue.

Patricia Bosquin-Caroz – It’s not new, because I was already concerned about it when I was president. That was more than ten years ago.

Éric Zuliani – I think it’s something we should always be concerned about.

Anaëlle Lebovits-Quenehen – It has been a concern for at least seventeen years.

Patricia Bosquin-Caroz – All the same Anaëlle, we can underline what was new in the Journées that’s just taken place. I was really struck by the place given, not just to young people, but to extremely competent young people.

Éric Zuliani – Yes. For example, I was very surprised, yesterday, to discover in one of the large committees, the one called “the hotline” – which dealt with the Saturday videoconferences, where there was a kind of step-by-step recruitment: members of the School, members of the Association de la Cause freudienne (ACF), and I even discovered the names of non-members of both the School and ACF who were there yesterday in person at the plenary because, as they had participated in the organisation of these Journées, they’d been invited to the Maison de la Mutualité. I was struck by the fact that we have, like that, from one to the next, people who take part in the Journées of the School, who are not members and on the verge of asking to be admitted to the ACF.

Patricia Bosquin-Caroz – Yes, there was also a freshness in the parallel sessions [simultanées], younger people presenting cases and we could see their investment.

Angelina Harari – And how was this taken up at the end, with the intervention of Agnès Aflalo, who was in charge of the parallel sessions?

Anaëlle Lebovits-Quenehen – These parallel sessions were a great success.

Éric Zuliani – She did a great job and gave a place to young people.

Anaëlle Lebovits-Quenehen – And almost a rejuvenation of the very principle of these parallel sessions, where it was really much more about having discussions on the spot than about giving long commentaries, etc. The bonus was the possibility of engaging in a discussion on the subject of the work. The bonus lay in the liveliness of exchanges. And from the feedback we got, it was an absolutely remarkable success. For the plenary session, it is also something new that there were so many young people there.

Éric Zuliani – Yes, it’s true, Patricia, you were there! [Laughter]. I would also like to mention Dan Arbib, and our colleagues who did some remarkable work, young colleagues, but not all young, and then…

Anaëlle Lebovits-Quenehen – Aurélie Pfauwadel, Angèle Terrier, Deborah Gutermann-Jacquet, Alice Delarue… and then Anne-Lise Heimburguer, Samuel Achache too.

Éric Zuliani – I didn’t intend to call out their names, but…

Anaëlle Lebovits-Quenehen – But it’s true that a place was for them! I don’t think we ever asked ourselves the question in these terms, we never said to ourselves: “There will be young people”. That’s not how we thought about the plenary session, but it’s something we have to acknowledge.

Éric Zuliani – The idea of making a place is not correct.

Anaëlle Lebovits-Quenehen – As you said, they are competent young people. We thought about that and about the theme, etc. We didn’t think of a making place for them as such. We didn’t think for a moment: “We’re going to have a balance”. That being said, it is true that Philippe La Sagna commented on this – and this made me feel a bit, not interpreted, but I hadn’t even realised that there had been a lot of young people. And Philippe was very happy about it and considered that, without doubt, it had also contributed to the success of yesterday’s event.

Angelina Harari – Today, we can talk about the success of the Journées yesterday.

Anaëlle Lebovits-Quenehen – What Patricia says about the guests is also true. Perhaps it is relatively new not to expect them to have had – at least as far as Dan Arbib is concerned, who is a researcher – a long career.

Éric Zuliani – And a very long beard.

Anaëlle Lebovits-Quenehen – … behind them before being able to invite them, because that’s when researchers get known. But Dan Arbib has the particularity of having, in a way, had a long career, regardless of his young age, because he’s already got a lot of published work behind him. That being said, Samuel Achache, who is a young director, and Anne-Lise Heimburguer, also have, in a sense, had long careers, each in their own way.

Éric Zuliani – This reflection on the term “youth”, while listening to you, it’s something that needs to be verified, but it seems to me that youthfulness is obtained from a subtle mixture of young people and more seasoned members.

Anaëlle Lebovits-Quenehen – Especially as youthfulness is a certain relationship to the analytical cause. Of course, there is age, it’s not a question of underestimating it. It’s a component, but all the same, the youthfulness of the relation to the analytic cause, the incandescence, we could say, of the relation to the analytic cause, that is what vivifies.

Éric Zuliani – This means we need to know what the mainsprings for it are.

Patricia Bosquin-Caroz – Or we stay young, because there are young people who are already very old.

Angelina Harari – This opens up a perspective that will be for another time. Thank you very much!


Texte and subtitle – Translate by Philip Dravers and Peggy Papada.

[1] [Freud, S. “Analysis Terminable and Interminable”, S.E. XXIII, p. 219, evoked by Lacan in “The Function and the Field of Speech and Language”, Écrits (London and New York: Norton, 2006), p. 244. T.N.]
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