UCL European Institute


Siblings in Psychoanalysis

05 March 2016, 12:00 am

Siblings in Psychoanalysis

Event Information

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5 March 2016
Juliet Mitchell in her work urged analysts to pay more attention to the place of siblings in the subject's psychic economy and their impact on the psychic structure. The trauma of a sibling's birth leads the child to question its very existence and to the murderous desire to eliminate the usurper. But the baby being an alter ego also loved by the mother, the challenge is to overcome the violence and accept its sibling as like itself but not identical to itself. This leaves room for more than one person to be the mother's child and introduces the concept of seriality. In the first part of this conference, Juliet Mitchell in conversation with Rosemary Davis will have an opportunity to revisit her theoretical developments on siblings and expand on the clinical and social implications of her work. 

5 March 2016

Anatomy G29 JZ Young Lecture Theatre
Medical Sciences and Anatomy Building
Gower Street



Juliet Mitchell coined the phrase the 'Law of the Mother' for the prohibitions against sibling murder and sibling incest. In a direct reference to Lacan's 'Law of the Father' this concept represents a theoretical challenge. If the Law is seen has a generalisation of the symbolic acceptance of the prohibition of incest, arrived at through a metaphoric process in which the name of the father replaces the object of the mother's desire, is the Law of the Mother a different type of Law ? Lionel Bailly will argue that the process by which sibling murder and incest is prohibited is similar but different to that of the Law of the Father and does not lead to the establishment of a Law but of a Covenant arrived at through a metonymic process which symbolically disguise the real threat: the loss of maternal love. The importance of an understanding of the lateral axis in psychoanalysis is not only theoretical but also practical. The analytic treatment needs to take into account this dimension and this conference will provide an opportunity to examine and discuss clinical cases in which the siblings play a central role.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers

  • Siblings in Psychoanalysis: The Lateral Axis

    Juliet Mitchell in conversation with Rosemary Davies

  • The Covenant of the Mother

    Dr Lionel Bailly, University College London

  • The Pull of an Erotised Object

    Dr Kathryn Pugh, British Psychoanalytical Society

  • Rivalry: Benign or Belligerent Sibling of Envy?

    Rosemary Davies, British Psychoanalytical Society

  • Siblings and the "Ratman"

    Dr Robbie Duschinsky, University of Cambridge

Ticket Prices

Standard rate: £110
Candidate / part time student rate: £90
Student rate: £50

*Costs will include refreshments, lunch, welcome packs, book launch and drinks reception

We are pleased to announce that the conference programme will include the book launch of 'Juliet Mitchell and the Lateral Axis: Twenty-First-Century Psychoanalysis and Feminism' (US: Palgrave Macmillan 2015). Robbie Duschinsky, one of the book's editors, will discuss the book at the book launch and drinks reception at the end of the programme. Further information, can be found: http://www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9781137381170