Call For Papers

~~~ Call For Papers LaConference 2015 ~~~

A Century on the Drive

Lacan Salon

Vancouver, BC

May 15-17/2015


A century ago, in 1915, Sigmund Freud wrote three fundamental works on metapsychology: Drives and Their Fates/Vicissitudes, Repression, and The Unconscious. These texts revised and solidified the theoretical foundations he had been working on since his Project for Psychology(1895). In his essay on the drives, Freud famously located the drives, “on the borderline between the mental and the physical – the psychic representative of stimuli flowing into the psyche from inside the body”. Among the aspects implicated in the destinies of the drive experiences, Freud discussed: the turn against the contrary, activity/passivity (masochism, sadism), repression and sublimation.

In Freud, the drives - Eros and Thanatos - are regarded as “the most important and obscure element” in the theoretical research on the psyche.  As a concept, the drive attempts to account for the energetic forces that propel the subject and destine her/him to deal with the body and its tensions, (dis)pleasures, repetitions and satisfactions, through the interplay of mechanisms of representation and affect.

Freud’s concept of the drive became more complicated after his controversial Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920) and subsequently lost relevance in discussions of the unconscious. It is with Jacques Lacan that the drive became, once again, central to understanding the unconscious and its formations. Specifically, much of Lacan’s return to the radicality of Freud’s original insights involved, contra Ego Psychology and the Object Relations School, the centrality of Freud's original contributions on the drive. Lacan developed Freud's theory on the drive through his ground breaking new theoretical elaborations: the Real, repetition, and jouissance; thus indicating new and crucial relationships to trauma, desire and love.

The drive, frequently confused with instinct, is a fundamental concept that tackles classical problems in philosophy which concern the dualisms of the mind and body; sex and gender; society and nature; as well as human sexuality more generally.

To commemorate a century of Freud’s work on the drive, we invite you to reflect, from a Freudian-Lacanian perspective, on the following questions. This is not an exhaustive list and we welcome your own reflections on the drive.

LaConference2015 welcomes the submission of twenty minute papers that engage with the drive to approach problems of clinical, cultural, aesthetic, social and political relevance. Workshop proposals are also welcome.  The papers will be vetted by committee and then organized into panels.

Please submit 250 word abstracts (with title) and contact information by MARCH 15, 2015 to: You will be informed if your paper was accepted by the end of March.


Details of the conference schedule will be announced in late February.