EssaysFeatureImaginal PoliticsLiberal Democracy in QuestionPsyche

Psychoanalysis, Democracy, Desire

Anyone passingly familiar with the history of psychoanalysis knows that the field has occupied an embattled, marginalized, often indeterminate identity, and that its survival has often seemed precarious. Yet it is from this perch on the margins of culture and community that psychoanalysis speaks. By channeling a vortex of unconscious and conscious energies, it gives voice to raw, novel, free associations. In fact, because it speaks, and because it hails listening and speaking as the medium for therapeutic action (as “the talking cure”) psychoanalysis is powerfully relevant, even essential, to our personal and collective development. It sets in motion (as Lacan, by means of Bruce Finkwould frame it)[i] “‘a dialectic of desire,’…[desire] set free of the fixation inherent in demand.” 

Psychoanalysis achieves its results through a remarkably human, non-technological practice of talking freely, of free association.  …

READ MORE →
CapitalismEssaysImaginal PoliticsLiberal Democracy in QuestionO.O.P.S.PsycheSex & Gender

Pornography in the Political Domain: A Citizen is Being Beaten

It is election time. I am almost done with the course “Gender and Domination.” However, the echoes of conversations started in that class are proving to be difficult to silence. Among the questions that this seminar has left lingering, the one that has stayed with me the most has to do with the little use that historically psychoanalytic theory seems to have had for political philosophy. Maybe the problem is that I do not know enough about the topic, but it is my impression that the existing collaborations between the two disciplines are scarce at best. Yet I do not think it has to be this way. Thus, in what follows, I present my attempt to engage psychoanalysis with certain political attitudes that I consider problematic. The starting point of my reflection is an article that Drucilla Cornell wrote back in the 1990s as a response to the debate on pornography initiated by Catharine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin.  …

READ MORE →
CapitalismEssaysFeatureImaginal PoliticsLiberal Democracy in Question

The End of Europe

The process of European unification is undergoing a deep crisis, certainly the deepest since it started at the beginning of the 1950s. In less than a year, the EU faced two major tests—first the Greek quarrel, then the refugee crisis — that revealed its true face: a mixture of impotence, unwillingness, egoism, arrogance and cynicism. It is not a pretty spectacle.  …

READ MORE →
EssaysFeatureImaginal PoliticsLiberal Democracy in QuestionMedia/PublicsPower and CrisisTheory & Practice

Claims to Populism, Danger to Democracy?

No US election campaign in living memory has seen as many invocations of “populism” as this one. Both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are labelled as “populists;” the term is regularly used as a synonym for “anti-establishment,” irrespective of any particular political ideas; it is also associated with particular moods and emotions: populists are “angry,” their voters are “frustrated,” or suffer from “resentment.” Similar claims are made about figures in Europe: Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders are most commonly …

READ MORE →
EssaysImaginal PoliticsPower and CrisisTheory & Practice

For the Last Time: “The West”

Revisiting the myth of the clash of civilizations

As information about the attacks in Paris, which left at least 128 people dead, gradually unfolds, I feel overwhelmed and disturbed. I am overwhelmed by the quantity of affective response to which I add my own grief, but I am also deeply disturbed by the way in which this affective reaction is channeled …

READ MORE →