Abstracts and Biographies
Ulrike May: Sexual Drives, Eros, Identification - Re-Lecture of Freud's Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego (1921)
(Lecture in German)
Instead of an abstract, the questions my lecture is meant to answer: Why now Eros, why not more sex drives? Is this already Freud's farewell to the sexual? Why is the human being not a social being? Does Freud believe in a biological foundation of the social? How should identification be theorized? What is identification without sexual interest? In Freud's view, what are the psychological processes that underlie identification? Why can't oral incorporation be equated with identification?
Ulrike May: Studies in psychology and psychoanalytic training in Munich (DPV, IPA). 1980 to 1998 practice in Munich, 1999 to 2020 practice in Berlin. Teaching and supervision. Numerous publications on the history of psychoanalytic theory and on Freud's practice based on his hitherto unknown patient diaries; see bibliography at www.may-schroeter.de. Most recently, among other things, together with Michael Schröter: new edition of Freud's Jenseits des Lustprinzips with a first publication of the preliminary version of this text from 1919 (May & Schröter 2013), anthology of own publications: Freud bei der Arbeit (Psychosozial-Verlag 2015). Forthcoming: Der Abschied vom Primat des Sexuellen. Zur Geschichte der Psychoanalyse in Berlin und London zwischen 1920 und 1925 (Psychosozial-Verlag).
Sama Maani: Art, Identity and the Psychology of the Masses in Digital Modernity
(Lecture in German)
Based on the observation that the internet is able to mobilize masses like no other medium. The question is examined to what extent the theses developed in Freud's Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego can contribute to the analysis of current debates on art motivated by identity politics (and predominantly taking place on the internet): debates which are characterized by a high degree of affectivity and relentlessness – and a tendency to demonize dissenting positions.
Subsequently, the thesis is put forward that – beyond those art debates – increasingly absurd social and political discourses provoke increasingly banal counter-discourses. And the question is pursued as to whether the Freudian text can contribute to a better understanding of these phenomena as well.
Sama Maani, born in Graz, grew up in Austria, Germany and Iran. Studied medicine in Vienna and philosophy in Zurich. Trained as a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. Today lives as a writer in Vienna. Publications include: Ungläubig (novel, 2014), Respektverweigerung: Warum wir fremde Kulturen nicht respektieren sollten. Und die eigene auch nicht (essay volume, 2015), Der Heiligenscheinorgasmus und andere Erzählungen (2016), Teheran Wunderland (novel, 2018), Warum wir Linke über den Islam nicht reden können (essay volume, 2019); Zizek in Teheran (novel, 2021) and in 2022 the essay volume Warum ich über den Islam nicht mehr rede. Schwierige Meinungen über Politik, Kunst, Literatur und Geschichte.
Responder/Moderation: Helmut Dahmer
Prof. Dr. Helmut Dahmer studierte Soziologie und Philosophie bei Helmuth Plessner, Theodor W. Adorno und Jürgen Habermas. In den Jahren 1968-1992 redigierte er die psychoanalytische Monatszeitschrift Psyche. 1984 gehörte er zum Gründungsbeirat des Hamburger Instituts für Sozialforschung. 1974-2002 lehrte er Soziologie an der Technischen Universität Darmstadt. Er gibt eine auf 10 Bände berechnete Auswahl-Ausgabe von Schriften Trotzkis heraus. Seit 2002 lebt er als freier Publizist in Wien.
Jan de Vos: The Truths of Psychoanalysis: Defying the Lies of Psychology that Fuel the Amassing of Individuals
In 1984 Apple’s Macintosh was launched with a reference to Orwell’s novel: the “personal” computer would defy massification and tyranny. In 2015 Yuval Harari still stated that the age of the masses was over: people are turned into atomised subjects. For Bernard Stiegler, however, the triumph of the individual is illusory, as he points to the herd-becoming of behaviour. Do we witness the return of the masses? Consider the Alt-Right and the mass manipulation of Facebook users in the 2016 US presidential election: the digital as the via regia for fascism and Nazism to return? What could be observed: the digital individualizes… in order to amass us. Here, arguable, the (obscene) Father Figures return. Psychoanalysis as the ideal tool to understand all this? Yes, but only when its truths are opposed to the lies of individualizing mainstream psychology: as the latter’s illusory conceptions of the human are used to algorithmically shape and steer individuals. Psychoanalysis is not an individual psychology, nor a social psychology, it is a mass psychology, which in the end envisions the becoming of subjectivity via the group as something which defies the algorithm.
Jan De Vos holds an MA in psychology and a PhD in philosophy. Currently he is affiliated to Ghent University and University College Ghent (Belgium). His main interests are the critique of (neuro)psychology, (neuro)psychologisation, and, related to this, the subject of the digital turn. His inspiration is continental philosophy, Freudo-Lacanian theory and ideology critique. His books include The Digitalisation of (Inter)Subjectivity A Psy-critique of the Digital Death Drive (2020), The Metamorphoses of the Brain. Neurologisation and its Discontents (2016) and Psychologisation in Times of Globalisation (2012). http://janrdevos.weebly.com
Giuseppina Antinucci: Crisis of Representation: Destiny of Identification
Freud’s Massenpsychologie examines identifications, thereby positioning the subject on the cusp of history, that potential space in between, where the work of identity occurs, through a coalescence of intrapsychic, interpersonal, and transpersonal relational vicissitudes. In our contemporary hyper-modern culture inflected by technology, we experience a crisis of representation- which echoes Anders’ Promethean disjunction- whereby the operational functioning of devices is offered as a solution to the work of mourning and occludes the space for imagination and thinking. When the subject employs devices as evocative objects to articulate omnipotent wishes and fantasies, s/he creates a parallel world which supports an illusory prosthetic completeness by eschewing the work of renunciation on which identity is predicated. A vignette illustrates the predicament of a young adult, traversing the work of psychic structuring in a digital world.
Giuseppina Antinucci is a Fellow of the BPAS and full Member of the IPA. She trained and worked in London for many years, in private practice and institutional settings. She worked for 10 years at the Anna Freud Centre, where she ran parent-toddler groups, part of the pre-school family service. Contemporaneously, she taught Psychoanalytic Theories of Child Development at University College London. She was on the Directory of Consultants at the London Clinic of Psychoanalysis. She presently lives in Milan, where she works with adults. She also works remotely with patients and teaches and supervises in Britain, China, and the US. She is on the Editorial Boards of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis and the Psychoanalytic Quarterly. She has published several papers on the IJP and has contributed chapters in books, among which When the body speaks, Routledge 2021, and Psychoanalysis, Identity, and Internet, Karnac 2016.
Responder/Moderation: Gail Newman
Gail Newman is the Harold J Henry Professor of German and Comparative Literature at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts USA. Her research centers on questions of subjectivity in the context of narrative and language, especially as they relate to trauma and incomprehensibility. Her work is informed by an eclectic mix of psychoanalytic theories, including Freud’s, Lacan’s, Ferenczi’s, and Winnicott’s. Her most recent publications touch on the aesthetics of catastrophe in the work of Heinrich von Kleist, the narration of silence and of history in two of Gerhard Roth’s novels, and the “confusion of tongues” in Ingeborg Bachmann’s short story “Simultan.” Currently, she is working on a book, co-authored with Mari Ruti, whose working title is The Creative Self: A Psychoanalytic Alternative to Neoliberal Self-Optimization.
Earl Hopper: The Social Unconscious, Traumatic Experience, and the Study of Social Systems: The Borromean Knot and the Mobius Strip of the Tripartite Matrix of Social Systems
The re-opening of the original Freud Museum more or less coincides with the one-hundred-year anniversary of the publication of “Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego”. Freud’s essay is typically generative but atypically ambiguous, especially in its English translation, and as such has spawned the careers of several sociologists, social psychologists, psychoanalysts, and group analysts. The main thrust of Freud’s argument, which unfortunately is entirely relevant and applicable to our current socio-political circumstances, is that social trauma leads to personal pain and to personal regression, which are, in turn, manifest in social regression, which is likely to cause further personal pain and trauma, recursively. In our work it is always necessary to have in mind the Borromean Knot of the tripartite matrix of all social systems, including the foundation matrix of the contextual society, the dynamic matrices of its constituent groupings, and the personal matrices of the participants in them; and the Mobius Strip of the co-creation of the external world and the internalisation of it, which can be understood in terms of a continuing dialectical spiral. In this context, I will clarify the concept of the social unconscious and why it involves the study of both trauma and social formations, some of which are “groups”, which has led to my theory of Incohesion: Aggregation/Massification as the fourth basic assumption in the unconscious life of groups and group-like social systems.
Earl Hopper, Ph.D. is a psychoanalyst, group analyst and organisational consultant in private practice in London. He is a Fellow of the British Psychoanalytical Society, an Honorary Member of the Institute of Group Analysis, an Honorary Member of the Group Analytic Society International and a Distinguished Fellow of the American Group Psychotherapy Association. A former President of the International Association for Group Psychotherapy and Group Processes (IAGP), and a former Chairman of the Association of Independent Psychoanalysts of the British Psychoanalytical Society. He is the author and editor of many books and articles in psychoanalysis, sociology and group analysis. He is the Editor of The New International Library of Group Analysis.
Lene Auestad: Affects, Groups, and Illusions – Freud's Essay as Foreshadowing Fascism
When Freud wrote his essay on group psychology, the First World War had just ended in the autumn of 1918. In 1919 the Versailles Treaty followed, and the Austrian Republic was proclaimed in 1920. In Germany, Hitler was beginning to make use of the SA, Storm Troopers, and Mussolini was gathering the Fasci di Combattimento, the fighting leagues that gave their name to fascism. Freud's essay foreshadows the growth of fascist movements in Europe in providing some key concepts to allow us to understand the potentially destructive dynamics of masses and of the ties between us. Slightly more than 100 years since its publication in 1921, at the re-opening of the Sigmund Freud Museum in Vienna, we find ourselves in a new crisis – in the aftermath of a pandemic, with a war in Europe and with fascist movements and parties that have gathered strength in several European countries and beyond. Freud's descriptions are once again highly relevant. I shall argue that while the dominant mode of thinking in our late neoliberal age is what John Rickman, would call one-person psychology, we need to be able to think from the point of view of groupings, of the complexities of affective ties and identifications between and within us, to understand the frightening world we live in.
Lene Auestad holds a PhD in Philosophy from the Ethics Programme, University of Oslo. She writes and lectures internationally on ethics, critical theory and psychoanalysis, with a particular focus on prejudice, racism, discrimination, trauma and nationalism. Books include Respect, Plurality, and Prejudice: A Psychoanalytical and Philosophical Enquiry into the Dynamics of Social Exclusion and Discrimination (Karnac/Routledge 2015). In 2010 she founded the international and interdisciplinary conference series Psychoanalysis and Politics (www.psa-pol.org), which aims to address how crucial contemporary political issues may be fruitfully analysed through psychoanalytic theory and vice versa – how political phenomena may reflect back on psychoanalytic thinking. The series continues to this day, with annual conferences in different European countries. She is an Associate Member of the Norwegian Psychoanalytical Society.
Responder/Moderation: Wolfgang Martin Roth
Wolfgang Martin Roth lives as a freelance writer, psychotherapist and group analyst in Vienna and Fréjus, Southern France. He is a teaching group analyst in Germany, Austria, Ukraine and founding editor of the Österreichisches Jahrbuch für Gruppenanalyse (2007-2015). In addition to numerous specialist group analysis publications, he has published, among others, the short story Die Neinstimme von Altaussee, Vienna 2019, Sonderzahl Verlag. His radio plays have been broadcast in Germany and on ORF, and in 2008 he was awarded the 1st prize of the Zonser Hörspieltage. Most recently he published the poetry book In der Nähe ihres Ringfingers. Pariser Fragmente., Vienna 2022, Löcker-Verlag. He is a member of the German and Austrian P.E.N. and was commissioner for Writers in Prison for the latter from 2015 to 2020 and convened the Vienna International Strategic Conference on the Situation of Human Rights in Eritrea three times under the honorary protection of the Mayor of Vienna.
Francisco J. González: The Trouble with Us: Towards a Trans-Mural Psychoanalysis
If for Freud the privileged site of psychoanalysis was the hysterical body, the frontier of today's maladies is the vicissitudes of the relationship to the group. We are troubled by the enigma of belonging; it is the trouble with “us.” Drawing on the psychoanalytic theory of groups, clinical experience, and critical theory, this presentation advances the notion of a double provenance of the unconscious, considering the social realm as a domain on par with the personal for the question of subjectivity. This view allows us to problematize collective aspects of individual subjectivity and the subjective aspects of collective ensembles. Belonging is seen here as an unresolvable problematic, which tractions the ego with centrifugal forces, threatening its coherence. Both individuals and groups may resort to force in response to this threat.
We, psychoanalysts, must then consider the institute itself as a site of “clinical” action, problematizing its borders, in order to move out of the ivory tower and towards a trans-mural psychoanalysis with relevance for the 21st century. (Francisco Gonzales)
Francisco J. González, MD, is Personal & Supervising Analyst, Community Psychoanalysis Supervising Analyst, and Faculty at the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California (PINC), where he also helped found and serves as Co-Director of the Community Psychoanalysis Track. He is on the faculty of the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis and a Supervising Analyst at the Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis. His teaching and writing focuses on the articulation of the social within individual and collective psychic life, including in the domains of gender, sexuality, racialized difference, immigration, film, and groups, and has been the recipient of the Symonds Award, the Ralph E. Roughton Paper Award, and co-recipient of the JAPA Award for the Best Published Paper 2019. He serves on the editorial boards of Psychoanalytic Dialogues, JAPA, and Studies in Gender and Sexuality and on the Holmes Commission on Racial Equality in the American Psychoanalytic Association. He practices privately in San Francisco and Oakland and in the public domain at Instituto Familiar de la Raza in San Francisco.
Ranjanna Khanna: Mass Death
I will address the group/mass psychology through death and mourning. “Thoughts for the Time on War and Death” elaborates on how the experience of mass death shifts one’s understanding of individual death and vice versa. Conceived as a primitive relation between loved ones and enemy combatants (of identifications and cathexes), the fundamental distinction between life and death occurs through the experience of being next to the corpse. Disillusionment in the face of body bags disturbs the relations among a band of brothers. Elaborating on the friend-enemy distinction through Totem and Taboo, I will address implicit notions of the political as they unfurl in relation to mourning and the group. Extending the writing from war into the pandemic, I will consider also the perversity of amity lines and national borders in relation to global problems (like a rampant virus or climate crisis) through group identification, and the question of individual agency in relation to mass death.
Ranjana Khanna is Director of the John Hope Franklin Humanites Institute and Professor of English, GSF, and the Literature Program at Duke University. She works on Anglo- and Francophone Postcolonial theory and literature, and Film, Psychoanalysis, and Feminist theory. She has published widely on transnational feminism, psychoanalysis, and postcolonial and feminist theory, literature, and film. She is the author of Dark Continents: Psychoanalysis and Colonialism (Duke University Press, 2003) and Algeria Cuts: Women and Representation 1830 to the present (Stanford University Press, 2008.) She has published in journals like Differences, Signs, Third Text, Diacritics, Screen, Art History, positions, SAQ, Feminist Theory, and Public Culture. Her current book manuscripts in progress are called: Asylum: The Concept and the Practice and Technologies of Unbelonging. She currently serves as Second Vice-President of the American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA).
Responder/Moderation: Ricardo Ainslie
Ricardo Ainslie holds the M.K. Hage Centennial Professorship in Education at the University of Texas at Austin in the Department of Educational Psychology, serves as director of research and education for AMPATH Mexico at Dell Medical School, and is director of the LLILAS Benson Mexico Center at the University of Texas at Austin. In addition to publishing regularly in academic journals, his books include The Fight to Save Juárez: Life in the Heart of Mexico’s Drug War (University of Texas Press, 2013), and Long Dark Road: The story of Bill King and Murder in Jasper, Texas (University of Texas Press, 2004). As the 2022 Fulbright-Freud Visiting Scholar, he is working on a book manuscript titled “City and Psyche.”