What is a Cartel?

A Cartel is the mode of working proposed by Jacques Lacan for psychoanalysts and those who want to study psychoanalysis. It is a working instrument to try to decrease the series of problems identified by Sigmund Freud on his work “Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego.” It is an artificial group that tries to defy what is essential to the human condition of the imaginary obscenity of the groups. Jacques Lacan proposed some basic but important organizing principles that take each one’s specific relationship to knowledge into account, which he can elaborate when it is a matter of unconscious causality.

Four people choose each other to work

For the creation of a cartel Lacan suggested four people being the ‘right measure.'  It is the reference number for the majority of cartels today.  Meetings happen at a rhythm that is decided between the cartel members, called ‘cartelisands.'

The ‘Plus-One’

The ‘Plus-One’ is chosen by the cartelisands and according to Jacques Lacan is the person “in charge of selection, discussion and the outcome to be accorded the efforts of each” (Foundation Act of the Ecole Freudienne de Paris, of the 21st June 1964). His function is crucial to support the work of each cartelisand with tact, to face difficulties and to maintain a distance between knowledge and truth.

The theme of Work

The creation of a cartel gives each one the opportunity to choose a theme of work called a 'trait': the reading of a seminar, the elaboration of a concept or of a case, the connection between psychoanalysis and other fields, etc. To each person’s trait, a common theme is added that becomes the title of the cartel, their subject of research and study.

Everyone’s own Product

The work carried out does not lead to a collective product of a knowledge taken from the group, because the experience of knowledge is subjective, personal and some way attached to a personal time and questions. It is rather a matter for each one, according to the moment of his relation to psychoanalysis, to emit what could be noted of what was modified in his relation to analytic knowledge.


A cartel cannot be forever, a cartel cannot last longer than one or two years. It is necessary for a time of conclusion allowing the avoidance of noticeable inertia in working groups that become eternal and hinder the appearance of new knowledge for the subject. The dissolution (conclusion) of the Cartel thus is an effort to avoid the consolidation of imaginary ties, which is the unconscious tendency of humans.

Juan Felipe Arango


Below is an official list of the Cartels of the Lacanian Compass.

1) Subject of research: "Phallic Madness in the era of the One All Alone"

Date of Creation: 03/19/2017
Type of Cartel: Virtual
Proposed Frequency of Meetings: Once a month
Duration: One year

Cartelisant 1

Name: Nancy Gillespie
City: New York, N.Y.
Trait of Work: "How can transference be established in the era of the One All Alone?"
Email Address: gillespie.nancy@googlemail.com

Cartelisant 2

Name: Cyrus Saint Amand Poliakoff
City: New York, N.Y.
Trait of Work: "How to understand the position of the analyst in a treatment of Ordinary Psychosis?"
Email Address: cyrus.saint@gmail.com

Cartelisant 3

Name: Judith Hamilton
City: Toronto, Canada
Trait of Work: "Clinical Case: His Ego has Risen"
Email Address: jehamilton@rogers.com

Cartelisant 4

Name: An Bulkens
City: Chico, CA
Trait of Work: "Limits, Borders, and Gaps of Identity"
Email Address: anbulkens@gmail.com

Plus one

Name: Alicia Arenas
City: Miami, Fl
Trait of Work: "Phallic Madness in the era of the One All Alone"
Email Address: arenasalicia24@gmail.com

2) Subject of research: "Position of the Analyst"

Date of Creation: 03/20/2017
Type of Cartel: Virtual
Proposed Frequency of Meetings: Once a month
Duration: One Year

Cartelisant 1

Name: Alicia Foronda
City: Santa Barbara, CA
Trait of Work: "When do you authorize yourself as a psychoanalyst?"
Email Address: aliciaforonda@gmail.com

Cartelisant 2
Name: Jeff Erbe
City: New York, N.Y.
Trait of Work: "The psychoanalyst as a support for Desire and Demand"
Email Address: jeffrey.erbe@gmail.com

Cartelisant 3
Name: María López
City: Miami, Fl
Trait of Work: ¨The position of the analyst in relation to clinical structures
Email Address: lopez1251@bellsouth.net

Cartelisant 4
Name: Julian Echeverry
City: Orlando, Fl
Trait of Work: "Position of the analyst in the practice with adolescents"
Email Address: juianecheverry@aol.com

Cartelisand 5
Name: Eduardo Ysern
City: Orlando, Fl
Trait of Work: "The object a in the analytic discourse, the cause of desire and the object/s of jouissance"
Email Address: ysern@gopafl.com

Plus One
Name: Alicia Arenas
City: Miami, Fl
Trait of Work: "The Position of the Analyst"
Email Address: arenasalicia24@gmail.com


If you are interested in participating in a Cartel please write to cartels@lacaniancompass.com. Include the theme which you would like to study, your name, and location.