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Greenberg, J. (2017). Commentary on E. Pichon Rivière's ‘The Link and the Theory of the Three Ds (Depositant, Depository, and Deposited): Role and Status’. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 98(1):187-200.
(2017). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 98(1):187-200
Commentary on E. Pichon Rivière's ‘The Link and the Theory of the Three Ds (Depositant, Depository, and Deposited): Role and Status’
It is hard to think of a theorist, after Freud, who has shaped the thinking of his or her psychoanalytic community as decisively as Enrique Pichon Rivière did in Latin America, and especially in the Rio de la Plata region. We might think of Melanie Klein's influence in London, Lacan's in France, or Hartmann's in North America. But the ideas of each of these were challenged locally; Pichon's apparently were not, at least until the rise of Lacan's influence in the 1970s and 1980s. As a result, it is impossible to understand the work of any Latin American analyst, from his contemporaries and his first generation followers such as Willy and Madeleine Baranger and Jose Bleger to contemporary authors, without taking Pichon's views into account.
Because Pichon influenced theorists whose work in turn was seminal outside Latin America (especially, at least until recently, in Europe) he must certainly be counted among the most important contributors ever to the evolution of both clinical and theoretical psychoanalysis. But despite this he is relatively unknown today, especially in Anglophone communities. And even within Latin America we cannot always track Pichon's influence directly in ways that are possible when we evaluate the contributions of leading thinkers in other psychoanalytic cultures.
Rather like Harry Stack Sullivan, whose ideas can be found (often without attribution) in the work of theorists identified with many different schools of thought, Pichon himself disappears even as his impact is decisive. One reason for this, shared with Sullivan, is that he wrote rather little; most of what we know about his thinking is carried by an oral tradition and by transcriptions of his lectures by students. In addition, until the last year or two there were virtually no English translations of his work; the paper printed here and the book Enrique Pichon Rivière: A Psychoanalytic Pioneer(Losso et al., 2016) are among the first.
Within the Rio de la Plata community itself, Pichon stirred strong emotions that make it difficult to get a clear view of the specifics of his contributions through the eyes of those who knew him best. Late in his career he turned his back on psychoanalysis, moving away from the cities in which he had lived and worked in order to pursue his social and political interests in
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