Psychoanalysis and Social Violence

Psychoanalysis and Social Violence at Freud Museum London

Freud Museum London
20 Maresfield Gardens London
Event time
Patron of the museum
Friend of the museum
2 May 2020

Addressing social aggression, hate and violence through a psychoanalytic lens.

In the first instance the question of social violence will be approached through an introduction to psychoanalytic understandings of aggression, hate and violence, through readings of classic texts from Freud, Ferenczi and Winnicott. We will also consider the question of victim/perpetrator/bystander dynamic with reference to clinical examples. We will then focus on the topic of gender violence against women particularly in the context of Argentina. We will explore the current feminist debates and the different psychoanalytic responses that have arisen in relation to these debates.

We intend to problematise the notion of gender and of some feminist positions that tend to reduce the intricancies of gender violence to essentialist views about men and women. Reductive generalisations about these categories produce an effect of segregation which, arguably, only contributes to reproduce violence and create a police state with serious consequences particularly on the younger generations. Psychoanalysis denaturalises the notions of man and woman to understand them as positions assumed by a subject in relation to their sexuality through a long and complex process of development, not as something anatomically given.

On the other hand, the problem of gender violence affects both men and women alike and this is clearly demonstrated by the number of young men marching alongside their women peers. We will look at the notions of patriarchy and neoliberalism as variables that transcend the divide between men and women. Feminist anthropologist Rita Segato does not consider violence against women as an ‘automatic result of male domination exercised by men’ but as a ‘mandate’ of masculinity. Such mandate, inherent in the patriarchal system as a hierarchical structure of power, reproduces in acts of violence the symbolic structures of power whose mark is gender but which includes all other orders of social status such as age, race, class, nations, regions (Segato, 2010).The day will begin with a general introduction, then move to the example of Argentina, concluding with a facilitate group discussion.

Julia Borossa is a psychoanalyst and the former Director of the Centre for Psychoanalysis at Middlesex University. Her publications include Hysteria (Ideas in Psychoanalysis series) (2001).

Lucia Corti is a psychoanalyst and Senior Lecturer and Clinical Supervisor of psychoanalysis, formerly at Middlesex University.

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