Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities & Birkbeck Institute for Social Research
British Psychoanalytical Society- Public Lecture
Rosine Jozef Perelberg
The paternal function was a late discovery in Freud’s work. Nevertheless, the relationship between fathers and sons constitutes one of the paradigms that have inspired universal literature, from religious stories to anthropological writings to the narratives in the consulting room. Freud points out the interplay between parricide and filicide present in great works of literature such as Sophocles’ Oedipus, Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Dostoyevsky’s Brothers Karamazov. How many narratives are there, and how much do they repeat themselves? Could some of them have been foretold? This lecture will focus on some of these key narratives across time and space; I will suggest that the question underlying them is how the paternal function is engendered for the human being. I will argue that psychoanalysis brings two profound contributions to the understanding of this question: namely thirdness, and the insertion of the concept of paternal function within a model of time focused on the dominance of the notion of après coup (Nachträglichkeit).
“…We'll hunt for a third tiger now, but like
The others this one too will be a form
Of what I dream, a structure of words, and not
The flesh and one tiger that beyond all myths
Paces the earth. I know these things quite well,
Yet nonetheless some force keeps driving me
In this vague, unreasonable, and ancient quest,
And I go on pursuing through the hours
Another tiger, the beast not found in verse.”
The Other Tiger by Jorge Luis Borges
When & Where
Birkbeck Institute for Social Research
The Birkbeck Institute for Social Research (BISR) is a cross-Faculty interdisciplinary research centre that acts as a hub for a wide variety of social research taking place at Birkbeck and beyond. The term social research is being used here to encompass work in social theory, psychosocial studies and sociology in the critical tradition for which Birkbeck is known; it connects researchers in social psychology, social policy, human geography, law, gender studies, politics and sociology and makes links with colleagues in other areas of the humanities and social sciences.
The BISR takes an active role in promoting social research and in providing commentaries on social issues. It works to promote cross-disciplinary debate, discussion, thinking and research on social issues.