Unincorporated Psychoanalysis

deadline for submissions: 
October 15, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Das Unbehagen A Free Association for Psychoanalysis
contact email: 

 DAS UNBEHAGEN. A Free Association for Psychoanalysis




 San Juan, Puerto Rico

February 17-18, 2018

Puerto Rico is considered an "unincorporated” territory, hence the signifier that inspired us.

 What does this word evoke? Unincorporated means:

  • not chartered as a self-governing village or city; lacking the tax, police, and other powers conferred by the state on incorporated towns: an unincorporated hamlet,
  • not chartered as a corporation; lacking the powers and immunities of a corporate enterprise, an unincorporated business,
  • not combined into a single body or unit; not made part of; not included.

 Freud introduces the word “incorporation” in Totem and taboo while developing the myth of the murder of the father and the ensuing cannibalistic meal. By killing and eating the father of the primal horde, the members of the tribe believe themselves able to appropriate his property and power. They internalize the prohibitions unconsciously and, feeling guilty, invent the basic rules of social bonds (prohibition of incest and murder). Civilization is born of the consequences of this foundational incorporation.

 “Incorporation ... is at the inaugural point of the emergence of the unconscious structure," Lacan wrote later. The first thing the child incorporates is milk, appropriating its qualities and frustrations, giving the milk great emotional value. In fantasy, the infant unites with the object and the pleasure of having becomes confused with the pleasure of being. On the model of cannibalistic fantasies linked to orality, incorporation is the first mode of identification in the human being; it is both a setting up of structure, and a defense against loss and jouissance.

 It is by this incorporation (the milk, the breast, the mother, partial objects and drives) that the infant will construct its perception of the world. The way of incorporating these partial objects and the related fantasies will evolve and change over the first years of life, crowned by the Oedipus complex. The notion of incorporation led Karl Abraham to develop the concept of part-object further expanded by Melanie Klein. As we know, the concept of part object led Lacan to invent the notion of an object a. If those terms are all somehow related, it is important to meditate on the links between Lacan and Klein on the one hand, and Lacan and Abraham, Torok, and Derrida, on the other.

 What would it mean for a subject or a territory to be “unincorporated”? Clinically, could we say that melancholy is a failure of incorporation since the object can never get lost, but what is lost is the ego? Are recalcitrant somatic manifestations, unincorporated corporeal territories, what Freud called symptoms that function like parasites? Is global capitalism itself a process of un-incorporation since subjects are reduced to commodities while being increasingly colonized at the level of the body? Are contemporary bodily symptoms the result of non-incorporation and is this a site of resistance? Are corporations that rule the markets the only form of community left, where we must imagine every aspect of identity as soldered to this process of professionalization? Are psychoanalytic institutions corporations or unincorporated territories?

 In this two-day conference, gathering participants from North, Central, and South America in the unincorporated territory of Puerto-Rico, we will address these questions in a series of key-note talks and panels. We invite you to submit individual papers, 15 minutes long, or propose a panel around a topic suggestive of the above questions. The venue is the historic El Telégrafo in Santurce, Puerto Rico, 10 minutes from the city center of San Juan.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers: María de los Ángeles Gómez, Fernando Castrillón, Alfredo Carrasquillo Ramirez, Marcus Coelen, Marc Strauss.

Special participation of visual artist Beatriz Muñoz Santiago.

 Deadline for paper/panel submissions (300-500 words abstract and title)

October 15, 2017

Suggested contributions (before and after 12/31/2017)

Professionals $80/$110 

Students & ECP $40/$55

Early career professionals (within 5 years of graduation) and student scholarships available.

A special group hotel rate will be posted soon.

Contact: Accommodations, Activities, Scholarships: Cécile McKenna drcecilemckenna@gmail.com Call for Papers: Kerry Moore kerrymoorephd@gmail.com


Organizing Committee:

Kerry Moore, Cecile McKenna, Olga Poznansky, Manya Steinkoler, Jamieson Webster, Patricia Gherovici