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Francine Danniau: Exiled Tongues and Tales

Saturday, December 2 – 10am PST


Refugees coming to an analytical practice are bringing along their tongues and tales. How to approach when none of us, refugee and analyst is speaking the same tongue. I will speak about my encounter with some of these analysands, refugees but not refusing to speak. Jacques Alain Miller refers to working with people not speaking the same native language. He says it brings in “a certain not-understanding.” It introduces an enigma, allowing empty space and creating room for invention. Refugees often have to undertake a work of construction, to construct a language, or find ways to speak from oneself. Refugees have lost their familiar lives, but not their “tongues nor tales”. “Interpretation consists in sending missiles, missiles of language, calibrated to pulverize the statements of which the subject suffers.” This quote by JA Miller, from his article “Did you say bisarre?”, is applicable to any analysand, not in the least to refugees. In his Geneva lecture, Lacan writes, that language always intervenes in the form of what he calls “lalangue”. “It is no coincidence at all that, whatever language, lalangue, it is that one receives the first imprint of, words are equivocal”.