Psychoanalysis and Politics – call for papers

RHETORICS OF POWER AND FREEDOM OF THOUGHT – VOICES OF THE IT AND THE OVER-I Spring symposium in Budapest, May 9th-11th 2014
Speakers include:
JULIA BOROSSA: Histories of Violence: Outrage, Identification and Being Alongside
ÁGNES HELLER The Role of Political Commitment (Weltanschauung) in Autobiographical Memory
FERENC ERÓS: Ferenc Mérei and the Politics of Psychoanalysis in Hungary
KATHLEEN KELLEY From Totalitarian to Democratic Functioning: The Psychic Economy of Infantile Processes
ANDRÉ HAYNAL: Listening to Fanaticism. Commentaries of a Psychoanalyst
MARGARITA PALACIOS: Guilt and the Politics of Knowing. A Reflection on Post War Academic Cultures
CALL FOR PAPERS: Authority, wrote Said, “is formed, irradiated, disseminated; it is instrumental, it is persuasive” – it “can, indeed must, be analysed” ([1978] 2003). “There is no alternative” is the phrase Thatcher often repeated with reference to economic liberalism. It can be taken as symbolic of the language of power or the rhetorics of oppressive persuasion, more generally. We are told that there is no alternative to protecting ourselves against ‘others’ who are after stealing scarce jobs and welfare goods, or who pose a threat to security. Hence, it is argued, borders need to be closed, minorities kept at a distance or in a state of submission, and techniques of surveillance are called for. Fear is stirred up and utilised to produce obedience to these demands, presented as fundamental and thus overriding concerns for human rights. In Moïsi’s words “the culture of fear is reducing the qualitative gap that once existed between democratic and nondemocratic regimes, for fear pushes the countries to violate their own moral principles” (2010). Right-wing populist discourse, historically as well as today, combines the function of voicing a revolt against authorities with a highly authoritarian stance. Thus it echoes both the voice of the ‘it’ and that of the ‘over-I’, allowing for, or demanding aggression against people posited as ‘other’ or ‘weaker’ than those the listener is impelled to identify with. We might liken this process to identification with the aggressor, leaving behind a mind “which consists only of the id and super-ego” (Ferenczi, 1933), and question whether traumatised societies are more susceptible to such rhetorics of power. Please see the full text of the call for papers on our webpage: http://www.psa-pol.org deadline December 10th 2014.
This is an interdisciplinary conference. We promote discussion among the presenters and participants, creating a space where representatives of different perspectives come together to engage with one another’s contributions and participate in a community of thought. A participation fee, which includes two shared dinners, of £150 (or € 178) before February 15th 2014 – £180 (or € 214) after February 15th 2014, is to be paid before the symposium. Please contact us if you wish to make a donation towards the conference. We thank all donors in advance!
LENE AUESTAD, PhD, prev. Research Fellow, Philosophy, University of Oslo/ Centre for Studies of the Holocaust and Religious Minorities/ London
JONATHAN DAVIDOFF, Psychologist, Honorary Psychotherapist WMUH, PhD Candidate UCL, London
PSYCHOANALYSIS AND POLITICS® is a conference series that aims to address how crucial contemporary political issues may be fruitfully analyzed through psychoanalytic theory and vice versa – how political phenomena may reflect back on psychoanalytic thinking. The series is interdisciplinary; we invite theoretical contributions and historical, literary or clinical case studies from philosophers, sociologists, psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, group analysts, literary theorists, historians and others. Perspectives from different psychoanalytic schools are most welcome. We emphasise room for discussion among the presenters and participants, thus the symposium series creates a space where representatives of different perspectives come together and engage with one another’s contributions, participating in a community of thought. Psychoanalysis and Politics is registered as a non-profit organization in Norway with the org. no. 998 503 221. Webpage: http://www.psa-pol.org

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