IN MEMORIAM: MADELEINE BARANGER (1920–2017)
One major influence in their formation as analysts was Enrique Pichon-Rivière, who was also Willy’s analyst, and they worked with him from the beginning. Pichon-Rivière always emphasized the essential unity of the psychological and the social dimensions, and the socio-political dimensions, and used the concept of “field”, taken from Kurt Lewin and Harry Stack Sullivan. This made sense to Willy, who was already familiar with Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s more philosophical field concept. From there they went to develop their own conception of the analytic situation as a dynamic field.
In 1961–1962, they published in the Revista Uruguaya de Psicoanálisis a now classical article “The analytic situation as a dynamic field”, which represented a breakthrough in psychoanalytic theorizing. This text was virtually unknown beyond the Spanish-speaking world, until it was published in an English translation in The International Journal of Psycho-Analysis in 2008, with an introductory study by Beatriz de León de Bernardi.
In this article, they claimed that the analytic situation should always be understood as a two-person setup, in which neither party could be conceived without the other, since they are inescapably bound and complementary. This they called a “dynamic field”. Later, in 1969, they reprinted it in a book in Spanish, called Problemas del campo psicoanalítico (Problems of the psychoanalytic field), which also included several other papers, written by either or both of them, that explored the theoretical, clinical, and philosophical consequences of such a point of view. Two other volumes of selected papers by the Barangers have been published in Italian (1990) and English (2009).
In the 1970’s and 1980’s, Madeleine and Willy continued exploring the concepts of the analytic field and process in some articles written in co-authorship. After Willy’s death, in 1994, Madé continued her career as a widely respected senior analyst, teacher, and author. In 2008 she was the recipient of the Sigourney Award, which had previously been given to Willy in 1993. In 2014, she was honored, together with Ricardo Horacio Etchegoyen and Janine Puget, by the Latin-American Psychoanalytical Federation (FEPAL), in its biennial congress, held in Buenos Aires.
Madeleine’s passing away has a very special significance for us, the members of the International Field Theory Association, as one of the major contributors to the establishment of psychoanalytical field theory and a Founding Honorary Member of our association. We shall miss her.
Baranger, M. & Baranger, W. (1961–1962). La situación analítica como campo dinámico [The analytic situation as a dynamic field]. Revista Uruguaya de Psicoanálisis, 4 (1): 3–54. [Reprinted with small changes in Baranger, W. and Baranger, M. (1961–1969). English translation: Baranger & Baranger (2008).]
Baranger, M. & Baranger, W. (1961–1969). La situación analítica como campo dinámico [The analytic situation as a dynamic field]. In Baranger, W. & Baranger, M. (1969), pp. 129–164.
Baranger M. & Baranger W. (2008). The analytic situation as a dynamic field. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 89: 795–826. [Original Spanish publication: Baranger, M. & Baranger, W. (1961–1962).]
Baranger M. & Baranger W. (2009). The Work of Confluence: Listening and Interpreting in the Psychoanalytic Field, L. Glocer Fiorini (Ed.). London: International Psychoanalytic Association/Karnac.
Baranger, W. y Baranger, M. (1969). Problemas del campo psicoanalítico. [Problems of the psychoanalytic field.] Buenos Aires: Kargieman.
Baranger, W. y Baranger, M. (1990). La situazione psicoanalitica come campo bipersonale. Cortina: Milan
de Bernardi, B. L. (2008). Introduction to the paper by Madeleine and Willy Baranger: The Analytic Situation as a Dynamic Field. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 89 (4):773–784.