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Title: Lost to desire : stories that refuse to be dreamt : the investigative burden of the Psychosomatic School of Paris
Author: Lassmann, Wolfgang
ISNI:       0000 0004 7654 5242
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2019
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As psychoanalysis spread in post WWII France, it came across a novel form of resistance: patients beset by somatic problems with little manifest fantasy life. Analysts from the Paris Society took the innovative step to turn their attention to what seemed without meaning. The term they gave to the barren working facade they met with was 'opératoire', a pluriform mental exhaustion without a workable narrative. This approach set off a wave of interconnecting ripples as the problems of dealing with this became clearer. My thesis shows that collateral benefits of a conceptual innovation may outgrow its initial use, finding new ways to travel into practice, in this instance by turning towards the conditions needed for fantasy to take form. Informed by Ian Hacking's suggestion that classifications shape relationships, my thesis looks at what the new concept has elicited in a community of practitioners - close to the École Psychosomatique de Paris - over a period of some sixty years. As a "skin for thought" it facilitated change while preserving coherence, gradually beginning to attract further considerations. Important themes have included: the early groundwork necessary for the configuration of fantasy, the importance of a shared imaginary, the role of denial and obliterated memories as a bond between people, emergency measures of a Me cut off from revitalisation, the effects of the rhythms and atmosphere at the workplace on family life, and the consequences of a crisis suppressed for lack of a holding frame. As psychoanalytic discourse adapted to the challenges, the original perspective changed aspect, moving from a systematic evaluation of what the patients did not produce to what the analyst had to fill in to make sense of the situation. Clashing with the terrain, French psychoanalysts raised important problems about psychic anaemia that are stimulating and deserve cross-cultural discussion.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform ; RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine ; RA790 Mental Health