IPA Inter-Regional Encyclopedic Dictionary of Psychoanalysis

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la Plata region until the end of the 1960s, Freud’s nonlinear conception of psychic temporality was never absent from its transmission (Pontalis, 1968). The operation of Nachträglichkeit thus requires two scenes: ‘after’, which constructs- constitutes ‘before’. These scenes have a different materiality and are asymmetrical: in the ‘after’ scene, there is a subject who makes him or herself present and is involved in creating the ‘before’ scene where what is present is the object. It is only in this ‘after’, with the advent of the subject, that it is possible to construct as trauma the ‘anterior’ scene, in which there is/was only an object, in a circular, non-reciprocal movement between the two scenes which allows us to regard causality in psychoanalysis in a non-deterministic manner. In this way, it is possible to see how significance and temporality are interwoven in Nachträglichkeit, revealing the difference between the mechanisms of retroactive action and regression. If each scene signified itself (if the ‘anterior’ scene was traumatic in and of itself), then retroactive action would transform into regression. Retroactive action does not involve a regression to something that has already been constituted; instead, the movement of retroactive action is what results in the anterior scene and its significance being constituted. It is the subject’s constitution that enables the signification of something that previously could not be signified. The studies of the two cases of Emma and the Wolf Man are generally regarded as paradigms when it comes to attempting to pinpoint the problem of Nachträglichkeit in Freud’s writings: “Project for a Scientific Psychology ” and “Wolf Man ” . About Emma, the symptom described by Emma in her analysis with Freud (the compulsion of not being able to enter a shop alone ) is not dependent on the trace of the scene that took place when she was seven (scene II, with the grocer), but instead on the multiple transformations it undergoes after the scene that occurred when Emma was twelve (which Freud calls scene I, with the shop clerks), which is the scene the patient associates with during the session. The two scenes are linked via superficial ties ( laughter, dresses ). In this way, the trace takes on significance and becomes traumatic when the symptom is constituted. The sexual assault, per se, does not explain the symptom. However when approaching this idea from a Latin American perspective the problem that arises would be what takes place when the concept is viewed in this way. This view might suggest an evolving reading closer to that of “Three Essays” (Freud, 1905) that could contradict the very nucleus of the concept. That could lead the reader to wonder if the theory could be constructed or updated. The continuous presence (Pontalis, 1968) of the idea of Nachträglichkeit was not altered by the discovery of infantile sexuality, which is constituted by this very retroactive action. Nor did the term disappear with the formulation of the death drive, since in this case it is not a question of returning to an anterior state—it is not a pure action a tergo of the drive, it is rather


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