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Puget, J. Sanville, J.B. (2000). Social Reality. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 81(5):998-1000.

(2000). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 81(5):998-1000

Social Reality

Janine Puget and Jean B. Sanville

Social reality may sometimes appear to us psychoanalysts as to Octavio Paz:

Es fragil lo real y es inconstante;

tambien, su lay el cambio, infatigable:

gira la rueda de las aparencias

sobre el eje del tiempo, su fijeza.

The real is fragile, and is inconstant;

Its law is restless change:

The wheel of appearances turns and turns

over its fixed axis of time.

(From ‘A tree within’, The Collected Poems, 1957-1987, p. 495).

Psychoanalysis has perhaps been wary of contending with the inconstancies of social reality, preferring instead to deal with what has been assumed changeless and eternal: the family and particularly the oedipal drama within it. But something seems to be changing: Janine Puget opened this session by declaring that the panellists intended to state hypotheses about social reality and its effects on people. They would be speaking, she said, about belonging, representation and presentation (as opposed, not identical), as well as about helplessness, imposition and catastrophe, and they would share some of the clinical indicators that led them to their ideas.

Braun, who read the paper of which Puget was the chief author (with Braun and Bianchedi), made it clear that this panel was intended to take on the challenge of extending analytic theories and practice to include the socio-cultural space that itself generates ‘marks and inscriptions’ on the psyche but is also constantly being transformed by individuals as they deal with experiences of social belonging.

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