Public Interest Psychology

Events and Lectures

The Political Mind: The role of the unconscious in political and social life.

@ The Institute of Psychoanalysis, Centre for the Advancement of Psychoanalytic Studies

A series of 10 seminars on psychoanalysis and politics in the summer term at the BPAS. May - July 2021


Introduction - Psychoanalysis and Politics

Freud's contribution to political thinking cannot be underestimated. He questioned the origin and structure of society in "Totem and Taboo" , exposed illusions and dogmas in"The Future of an Illusion" and "Civilization and its Discontents" and wrote about Bolshevism in the "New Introductory Lecture on Psychoanalysis" and described the foundation of a people, in "Moses andMonotheism."

He challenged "civilised sexual morality" as the origin of "the nervous and mental illness of modern times." In Mass Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego" he analysis the concepts of leader, crowd, and power.

In the superego, Freud ascribed values, ideals, and imperatives associated with morality and society to the psyche.

The sexual drive and death drive, coupled with the instinct for mastery is a determining factor of existence, in society, politics and the individual.

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, whistleblowing and power.


British Psychoanalytical Society (incorporating the Institute of Psychoanalysis)

04 May 2021 - 13 July 2021

Time: 20:15 - 21:45

Price: Non Member £200.00 | Students £120.00 | BPC Members £180.00 | Individual tickets available

Location: online



These seminars will explore contemporary issues such as the pandemic, racism, totalitarian thinking and dangers to democracy, as well as NHS, the market economy, the climate crisis, and gender and sexuality. Chaired by David Morgan

4th May | A psycho-analytic view of why radical uncertainty is such a challenge to politicians and the financial world | Phil Stokoe

11th May | The Woman, The Rose and The War. A conversation on psychoanalysis and art illustrating the irreparable damage of brutal violence and its impact on women. | Dr Constanza Aranguren (Colombia)

18th May | Authoritarianism and Dancing Bears: Implications for a New Beginning. The abstract for this seminar can be found by clicking on the blue title | Dr Jonathan Sklar

25th May | What psychoanalysis can offer leaders | Dr Kerry Sulkowicz (USA)

*Half Term*

8th June | #MeToo: The Feminine as Portal to Free Speech and Emancipatory Democracy | Jill Gentile (USA)

15th June | Psychoanalysis for the People: Working with Disenfranchised Populations | Dr Patricia Gherovici

22nd June | The Coronavirus Pandemic and its Meanings | Prof Michael Rustin

29th June | Blackness & Whiteness: A psychoanalytic conversation | Fakhry Davids and colleague TBC

6th July | Reflections on the Politics of Gender Identity | Dr David Bell & Prof David Pilgrim

13th July | Psychological Roots of the Climate Crisis: Neoliberal Exceptionalism and the Culture of Uncare | Sally Weintrobe

These lectures will be held on Zoom and will also be available for the following 24 hours to all registered participants.

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