A series of 14 seminars
The role of the unconscious in political and social life.
In times of political turmoil, where does one turn for insight?
"Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold”?(Yeats).
“The old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear”(Gramsci)
“Everything must change so that everything can stay the same." (Tancredi in "The Leopard")
Freud's contribution to political thinking cannot be underestimated.He questioned the origin and structure of society in "Totem and Taboo" , unmasked illusions and dogmas in "The Future of an Illusion" and "Civilization and its Discontents" criticised Bolshevism in the New Introductory Lecture on Psychoanalysis, and described the foundation of a people, in Moses and Monotheism. He criticised "civilised sexual morality" as the source of "the nervous illness of modern times." In Mass Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego he dismantles the concepts of leader, crowd, and power. In the agency of the superego, Freud ascribed values, ideals, and imperatives associated with morality and society to the psyche.
In fact the sexual drive, the death drive, and the instinct for mastery exercises an implacable determinism throughout existence, social and political, individual and psychological.
Political thought as in Machiavelli, Hobbes, Marx, Weber, and others — intersect and illustrate many of Freud's ideas. e.g. the radical rejection of all forms of illusion, the will to lucidity based on a flexible rationality, the dismantling of connections within communities, the emphasis on the autonomy and responsibility of the individual subject.
These seminars will explore Psychoanalysis and Politics in the light of contemporary issues such as racism, terrorism, totalitarian thinking, NHS ,the market economy, ecology, gender and sexuality.
Chair and Seminar Organiser
April 25 - Dr Kate Pugh/Rod Tweedy
The Political Self
Understanding the Social and Psychological Context for Mental Illness.
2 - Philip Stokoe
Where are the Adults? A psychoanalytic view about the dangers of anxiety and the collapse of thinking.
9 - Dr David Bell
Everything is possible and anything is permitted: psychoanalytic reflections on the work of Hanna Arendt.
16 - Sally Weintrobe
Climate change in a culture of uncare.
23 - Ruth McCall
30 - Professor Robert Hinshelwood
Democracy’s Freudian slip.
6 - Dr Nicholas Temple
Psychoanalysis and the Totalitarian State of Mind.
13 - Professor Steven Groarke
“On the uses of fiction in personal and political life”.
20 - Dr Roger Kennedy
Fear of Strangers: whose home is it?
27 - Dr Jonathan Sklar
Thinking on the Border- memory and trauma in Society.
4 - Fakhry Davids
Psychoanalysis and Palestine-Israel: A personal angle.
11 - Dr Andrew Conio
Magic, bond and fury: psychoanalysis and money
18 - Professor David Tuckett
Conviction and Cooperation: Facing the Problems We Can’t Solve by Ourselves.
25 - Professor Michael Rustin
Tavistock Tradition and it's Political Relevance.
Individual tickets - £20 per lecture.
Institute of Psychoanalysis
112A Shirland Road, Byron House
London, London W9 2BT