Transference, from the Institution to Politics by Alexandre Stevens


In his well-known schema in Massenpsychologie, Freud argues that a crowd is organised on the basis of a hypnotic transference to the leader that embodies the ego-ideal, and even merges with him. This applies as much to a crowd organised in an institution as it does to a wild, unorganised crowd. The mass effect is obtained by the imaginary identification of the ideal-ego between individuals. With this game of identification supported by transference, everyone is the same.

In this case, the transference brings together an “all” under a supposedly common trait of jouissance. The mass is thus easily built up against the stranger who is believed to enjoy differently. From the point of view of analytic discourse, we can grasp that a function of the ideal is to lessen the singularities in favour of an “all alike”.

In the cure, the transference to the subject-supposed-to-know makes one go through the Other. The subject gives meaning to what arises for him, but also deploys the major signifiers that have marked his existence and that are linked to his identifications. He can thus take the measure of what this ideal represents for him and reduce the effects of “massification”.

But the last stage of Lacan’s teaching, as Jacques-Alain Miller remarks and develops in his course, allows us to better grasp how the singularity of each One can come to the fore the moment the Other is not already there. Free of the S2, what appears is the singular trait of jouissance. Without the S1-S2 articulation, the transference loses its causal position. This signifying connection is indeed necessary for the transference to take place. When the transference does not immediately take place, no trait of the ideal comes to cover a priori this real.

However, “the Other does not exist but the passion of hatred does exist.” Hate is real. It produces an urgency to respond. It appears before the emergence of the transference. We can situate a moment of transference in politics when Jacques-Alain Miller grasped, in an instant of perception, the hatred that surged up in the political field when Marine Le Pen came close to taking power. Faced with this emergency, he proposed that we respond in the form of SCALP (Series of Conversations Anti Le Pen). This is an incidence of analytic transference in politics.

More broadly, the analytical conversation transferred to politics has every reason to be supported, on the condition that each person know what the ideals and ravages are that they may carry.

Translated by Janet Haney & John Haney