INTRODUCTION TO TURKISH ANNUAL 2016
Nilüfer Erdem, Editor of the Turkish Annual of the IJP and Editor-in-chief of the European Annuals of the IJP
With the eighth issue (2016) of the Turkish Annual of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis (IJP) we say hello again to our readers.
In the last year we have witnessed with pain and horror the bloody attacks of ISIS and similar organizations in our country and elsewhere in the world. Over the last year while we were in the process of choosing articles, translating and preparing them for publication of our new issue, the increasingly violent attacks that caused the death of hundreds of people and countless injuries have in the meantime undoubtedly left deep traumatizing marks within each of us. After every attack we see humanity suffer damage to the areas of common life, thinking, creation and production and that the concept of Otherness is eroded, and the transitional spaces, guardians of our mental health, are destroyed.
This uneasy atmosphere was influential in our selection of this year’s theme. We chose “Death Drive” as the main theme of our 2016 issue in order to contribute to the effort to think psychoanalytically against the feeling of horror and hopelessness caused by the increasing waves of destruction.
As is known, Freud brought to the fore and developed the concept of the death drive during the despairing atmosphere between the two World Wars, which showed the most destructive face of mankind. The concept of conflict between life and death drives which was initially put forth by Freud in “Civilization and Its Discontents” (1930) was actually taken further by Melanie Klein. We can see the conflict between life and death drives at the basis of Klein’s theory which defines psychic maturation as an oscillation between the paranoid-schizoid position and the depressive position.
How is the concept of death drive, which Freud first referred to as “speculation” and later attempted to provide evidence for in his clinical work and which was among the various controversial concepts in psychoanalytic literature (Laplanche & Pontalis, 1967), viewed by contemporary psychoanalytic writers? Do we still need this concept today in our clinical work? Moreover, in today’s world of destruction, does the concept of death drive help explain individual and mass aggression and destructive tendencies? We hope to be able to take a closer look at these questions through articles we have chosen for this issue, to contribute to the emergence of new and more functional questions, and to provide up to date data worth reflecting upon in order to create a scientific environment where both clinical and social phenomena may be discussed. Our choices were shaped by the fact that some articles would directly discuss the concepts of death drive, aggression and destructiveness, and that others would be read in parallel with those ideas. In addition to that main theme, as in previous issues, we included in our 2016 issue both articles that represent contemporary theories as well as classical theories, and articles on clinical and technical issues. Lastly, for readers who are from other fields of knowledge, we present interdisciplinary articles.
A general review of the psychoanalytical theories of life and death drives, as well as destructiveness and aggression and basic approaches to this issue can be found in Franco de Masi’s article “Is the Concept of Death Drive Still Useful in the Clinical Field?”. De Masi identifies three main approaches to aggression: 1) First is based on the view that aggression, hate and destructiveness are part of the human instinctual endowment (Freud, Klein); 2) The second view is that aggression is a primal disposition and that it is reinforced in response to a traumatic experience (A. Freud, Fairbairn, Winnicott, Kohut); and 3) The third view emphasizes the emergence of aggression as a reaction to a negative environment or frustrating circumstances (Khan, Fonagy, attachment theorists). In short, as to the question of whether aggression is an autonomous drive, or is a reaction to a narcissist injury, de Masi arrives at the conclusion that it is not necessary in the clinical field to explain destructiveness in relation to the assumption that the death drive or destructive impulse comes from birth. He suggests that associating destructiveness with infantile trauma, and trauma due to a permanent lack of affect in particular, is clinically more useful.
In “The Death Drive: Phenomenological Perspectives in Contemporary Kleinian Theory”, David L. Bell discusses the development of the concept of death drive from when Freud first introduced the concept until now and focuses mainly on the conceptualization of it according to different models within contemporary Kleinian thought. The author sets out three Kleinian models in this respect: 1) A model that focuses on the death drive that aims to destroy the capacity to perceive; 2) A model that emphasizes the seductiveness of a world of mindlessness, of being drawn into a pleasurable, Nirvana-like situation as described by Freud; 3) A model that concentrates on sadistic control of the object which prevents any kind of action on the object’s part and which focuses on a subtle kind of pleasure. The author underlines that the common point of these three models is the emphasis on the importance given to attacks on thinking. Bell sets forth the idea that the core of Freud’s thinking lies in his tragic vision of humanity whereas the concept of death drive expresses this tragic vision in its mature form. The article provides an important and educative resource on the concept of death drive and the subject is further elaborated through detailed case descriptions.
In the Annual this year, we again have a contribution which illustrates the relationship between art and psychoanalysis: “Erotic Passion as a Desperate Cry Aimed at the Other: Nagisa Oshima’s In the Realm of the Senses” by Bella Habip, former editor of the Turkish Annual and a member of our editorial board. The author analyses Oshima’s In the Realm of the Senses, a cult films of the 70’s, which is based on a true story. Habip emphasizes that the film is about “a lived experience of passion with utmost subtlety, representing it through the senses and eroticism – the senses operating as a survival strategy, a cry aimed at the other”. This article, which at the same time reflects on the concept of the death drive, demonstrates the vicissitudes of the destructive drives through film analysis. It provides seminal views on the relationship between aggression and destructiveness, and narcissistic injuries.
Claude Janin’s article “Shame, Hatred and Pornography: Variations on an Aspect of Current Times” examines the relationship between shame, hatred, and pornography, through clinical examples and metapsychological propositions. The article focuses on the phenomenon of ‘‘negation’’ as a psychical expression of destructiveness. While the author discusses the relationship between shame, a means of socialization, which accepts the presence of the Other as immanent, and pornography which negates the other, he defines ‘‘blank shame”, an apparent absence of shame in pornography, which actually invades the whole scene. The article reveals that hatred, like pornography, is based on the negation of the other.
Another contribution furthering the issue of shame is John Steiner’s article on “Seeing and Being Seen: Shame in the Clinical Situation”. Steiner refers to that aspect of shame which prevents one from emerging from a psychic retreat and as one begins to do so, two fears that one confronts: the fear of seeing the object more clearly and the fear of being seen becoming prominent. He explains that due to awareness of the damage done to good objects, seeing leads to feelings connected with guilt and depression. Steiner discusses two clinical examples, in order to show the positive clinical results of analyzing shame.
Irit Hameiri Valdarsky’s article “‘Void Existence’ as Against ‘Annihilation Existence’: Differentiating Two Qualities in Primitive Mental States” focuses on distinguishing “annihilation existence”, which is often used in psychoanalytic literature, from a particular quality of experience which he calls “void existence”. By conceptualizing “void existence” as total psychic desolation, the author aims to develop a new conceptual tool that will help the analyst in understanding difficult cases where the patient suffers from an insufficient symbolization capacity. According to the author, “void existence” is a one-dimensional existence, and such existence means that the subject is in an infinite, counter-less void lacking any substantial internal object and lacking any live representation of this state of being. The writer, who supports this theoretical discussion by excerpts from an analysis, draws parallels between the experience expressed by his patient with that of Michael Ende’s descriptions of desolation provided in his famous novel The Never-Ending Story.
The annual includes an article by René Roussillon, “An Introduction to the Work on Primary Symbolization”, which was initially presented at the 49th IPA Congress held in Boston, USA, on July 22-25, 2015. The reader will remember that another article by Roussillon had been translated in the previous issue. In this contribution, which includes a comprehensive case study, the author reminds us that existing models of psychic functioning are inadequate when it comes to narcissistic pathologies. He stresses the importance of integrating earlier or more archaic aspects of the symbolization process into psychoanalytic metapsychology. The author indicates that in primary symbolization processes, construction of, and investment in links are fundamental, and that at the basis of primary symbolization and the subsequent process of psychic transformation lies “an encounter with a sufficiently adaptable and transformable maternal environment to adjust to the psychic needs of the newborn”. Roussillon also considers Marion Milner’s concept, malleable medium, which he has further developed, and addresses the need for the existence of a malleable medium/object in early development.
The International Journal of Psychoanalysis (IJP) annually publishes the section “Analyst at Work”, which allows for the comparison of different clinical approaches. This section which includes three articles, consists of a detailed case presentation followed by two commentaries on that clinical work. This year we are pleased to include this section in our Annual for the first time. Under the section “Analyst at Work”, you will be reading Lila Hoïjman’s article “The Case of Alix: A Psychoanalytic Transformation When a Baby Makes Three” and the commentaries by Robert Oelsner and Ignês Sodre in “Discussion of ‘The Case of Alix: A Psychoanalytic Transformation When a Baby Makes Three’”.
Two other texts devoted to clinical issues are works by Catalina Bronstein and Anna Potamianou examining somatic events. Both authors illustrate their views with detailed case studies. In Catalina Bronstein’s article “Finding Unconscious Phantasy in the Session: Recognizing Form” a synthesis of the work carried out on the concept of unconscious fantasy from Susan Isaacs to date is presented and the early work of “primitive unconscious dreams” is discussed. The author states that such fantasies “bear an intimate connection to the body and to unprocessed emotions, when they are projected into the analyst that they can produce a powerful resonance; sometimes also experienced in a physical way and forming an integral part of the analyst’s countertransference”, and she provides information on how to recognize various forms by which unconscious phantasies manifest themselves in the session. Anna Potamianou, in her article “Amnemonic Traces: Traumatic After-Effects” puts forth a theoretical framework for situations where nothing is remembered and nothing is repeated by the patient as a result of traumatic experiences, and suggests that in such cases that which is not elaborated in the mental realm is expressed through somatic events. This, according to Potamianou, creates certain prerequisites, such as; “optimal seduction” in the service of progression of the analytical work, analyst’s oscillations between free- floating attention and vigilance, and when necessary, focusing more on the process rather than the content.
Finally, there is a brief paper by Nicola Luigi Bragazzi – Giovanni del Puente taken from the Letter to the Editor section of the IJP: “On: Hijab and Homosexuality – A Case Report and Review of the Literature”. The authors remind us that in the psychoanalytic literature, for women, veil can be considered as a transitional object in relationship to the mother, a representation of a sadistic superego agency and of a paternal agency, and in terms of its containing function like the Skin-Ego and other similar functions. Bragazzi and del Puente discuss what kind of implications veiling may have on men, through existing literature and a clinical case. The case study draws attention to the parallels established by a “latent” homosexual patient, between homosexuals as being “invisible” in the eyes of the society and women as “invisible” when covered up by the veil. For those who are interested in the psychic extrapolations of veil, we would like to remind you of the article “The Couch and the Chador” which was published in our 2013 issue.
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We wish you a productive and an enjoyable reading.
Translation: Aslı Day and Melis Tanık Sivri
Freud, S. (1930). Civilization and its discontents Translator: Barışcan, H. Istanbul: Metis, 2014.
Laplanche, J., Pontalis, J.B. (1967) Vocabulaire de la Psychanalyse. Paris: PUF, 2. Edition, 1968, p. 371.
Movahedi S., Homayounpour G. Divan ve Çarşaf. Translator: Tanık Sivri, M. Editör: Habip B, p. 185-207. Uluslararası Psikanaliz Yıllığı (Turkish Annual) 2013. Sel Yayıncılık.
TRANSLATING PSYCHOANALYTIC PAPERS: WHICH CRITERIA?
Bella Habip, Founding editor of the Turkish Annual (2009-2013)
Paper presented at the Annuals Panel, 22nd Congress of The European Psychoanalytical Federation, Brussels, 2009.
The Turkish Annual, to be launched with its first issue in April 2009, will be published by the well renowned Yapı Kredi Publishing, which specializes in the fields of literature, philosophy, social sciences and humanities. 1600 copies of the journal will be printed.
I felt obliged to begin my presentation with such an introduction, because as you will see, the content of our Annual and our choice of articles very much takes into consideration the readership of the publishing house. In this respect we can say that the publishing house defines the external framework of our journal.
Yet there is of course an internal framework which stands in relation to the above mentioned external frame. Our editorial board consists of six people. We have one analyst and five candidates who are at varying levels of their psychoanalytic training , and we are all members of an association which is soon to apply to the IPA in order to become a study group . Thus our editorial board entails diverse dynamics with different qualities . Last year, three of our members translated the first volume of M. Klein’s collected works, and the book was published by another publisher (Kanat Publishing). All the candidates on the board are attending to the theoretical and clinical seminars sponsored by the IPA at the association. All members also have a shared training background, and are active in different formations for translation and publication of conference documents, and seminar translations. Two of our members are both Anglophone and Francophone, the rest are only Anglophone. Of course, Turkish is our native language. But I can’t say the same for the language of psychoanalysis. We have all accessed psychoanalytical texts in a foreign language. While the translation of psychoanalytical texts to Turkish remains limited, those of good quality are even more scarce. This challenge will also reflect in our criteria, as we also see the Annual as an attempt to fill in this gap. Just to provide an example, for this first issue of the annual, we have selected the work of Willy and Madeleine Baranger, and Beatrice de Leon’s article on the significance of Barangers’ work on the foundation of the Argentine Psychoanalytic Society. Through this article, which has not previously been translated into Turkish, we’ve been able to introduce the Barangers’ article to the Turkish readers. And of course we’ve thus added M. and W. Baranger’s article to the body of translated literature.
Now, coming to the topic of our panel, Translating psychoanalytic papers: Which criteria? As the editorial board, we decided to make our selection in the following manner: First of all, we agreed to try to do the translations internally, as opposed to finding an outside translator, and only use the latter in cases really necessary. As soon as the first issues of IJP were published, our staff, who was interested in translating, proposed the articles they unanimously considered worth translating to the board. We then began to establish the criteria for translation. But the choice and interest of the individual translators emerged as an implicit criteria. We opened up these personal choices to discussion and came to the following conclusion: This does not mean we’ve established absolute criteria, as we are only at the beginning of this project, but it would be fair to say we have agreed upon main criteria.
- Our first criteria turned out to be that the article should be appropriate for the target group of readers. We initially conceived this target group as mental health professionals, but also took into consideration the cultural context of psychoanalysis. Therefore, we decided to include articles on literature, philosophy, music and cinema in each issue as well. Along this line, for this issue we decided to include Brett Marie Schiller’s essay which explores theoretical issues such as diversity, alterity and the other that contemporary psychoanalysis deals with, in the film “Yes”, and Richard Rusbridger’s article ‘The Internal World of Don Giovanni” which investigates the psychic functioning (in the context of projective identification) through music. In Bria and Lombardi’s article, “The Logic of Turmoil”, which could be regarded as a collaborative work of psychoanalysis and philosophy, we wanted to introduce the thought of Matte Blanco.
- We’ve established our second criteria as articles exploring contemporary issues emerging via psychoanalytic treatment. In Turkey, the general perception is that psychoanalysis is an outdated mode of treatment, which only a bunch of aristocrats can access. We wanted to challenge this prejudice, which is especially towards the professionals. An example of this is our choice of the beautiful article by Lingiardi on how the virtual relationship formed over emails becomes part of the treatment. With this same objective, we also included Juan Pablo Jimenez’s article ‘Theoretical Plurality and Pluralism in Psychoanalytic Practice’ which explores the relationship the psychoanalyst forms with theories with reference to his/her own clinical environment.
- As I mentioned above, another criteria we have is to close the gap constituted by the lack of translations of main psychoanalytical texts, or the poor quality of the existing ones, with the Annual. Therefore we decided to include articles, which allude to theoretical reference texts as well. This is why we chose to include the article of Beatrice de Leon on the Barangers, and M and W. Baranger’s article itself. For the same reason we selected articles by Green and Kernberg: in orderto introduce these renowned contemporary psychoanalysts who have not previously been extensively translated to the Turkish reader.
In summary, our selection consisted of texts addressing main issues of psychoanalysis, texts by “auteurs” not yet translated into Turkish and articles reflecting the multiple facets of psychoanalysis (music, cinema and philosophy), with the condition that we take into consideration our target group of readers. And of course we also prioritized articles reflecting the projection of contemporary psychoanalysis into clinical practice.
To conclude, I can say that the Annual is an immaculate project in terms of an initiative of a newly forming psychoanalytic society in finding a language and thus an identity for itself through the translation of psychoanalytical texts.
Through the“intimate relationship” established with the “stranger” both in terms of language and science, it is for certain that the Annuals which, by virtue of translation, as Paul Ricoeur states, “ host the word of the stranger in his own house”, will lead to the internalization of different psychoanalytical cultures. Furthermore, it is for certain that psychoanalysis in Turkish will gain a new momentum through texts translated to Turkish via concepts, contexts and schools reconsidered in Turkish .
I couldn’t help but think after this intense and elaborate project of the translation, editing and rethinking concepts in Turkish; how about if candidates at the end of their training when they validate their courses translate a previously not translated text into Turkish and write a paper on why they’ve chosen to translate the article in that particular way? Wouldn’t such a practice both generate new candidates for translation and also make a significant contribution to the theoretical seminars in the training programs?
Paul Ricoeur, Sur la traduction, Paris: Ed. Bayard, 2006.