Mass Movements and Societal Crisis

Images and Realities of the Refugee

Conference in German and English

In cooperation with Albert Schweitzer Haus – Civil Society Forum


Friday, 18 October 2019, 17.00 – 21.00 and

Saturday, 19 October 2019, 9.30 – 19.00

Albert Schweitzer Haus, Schwarzspanierstraße 13, 1090 Vienna


Admission free, please register below, free seating

The many refugees who arrived in Austria during the summer of 2015 and who made headlines in the public discourse, placing the foreigner at the center of it, lead to a series of different reactions: from empathy and an initial overwhelming willingness to help, to anxieties and concerns about the ways of organizing the large groups of refugees and the social consequence such an influx of foreigners would have upon the fabric of the country. Their presence also lead to an open hostility and a wide-spread rejection of admitting foreigners into the homeland. Even politicians and the media focused upon stoking fears and prejudices in the public realm.

With the conference Mass Movements and Societal Crisis the Sigmund Freud Museum wants to create an open dialogue in order to question and examine the various images and impressions circulating about “the foreigner” in our society. How can we recognize and decrease the anxieties which are being evoked by the refugee crises world-wide?  Which psychodynamic mechanisms are lurking behind the hostility against foreigners, what and who is so threatening? How do we perceive cultural differences and what cultural differences appear to be irreconcilable? Which societal standards and values do we not want to give up? How inclusively and openly can we think about the concept of 'Heimat' (homeland)? Which role can psychoanalysis play in this matter and not simply remain a silent witness?

Psychoanalysts and experts from different disciplines, such as psychology, sociology, law and journalism are going to determine these questions in an active exchange of ideas and discuss possible theoretical and practical solutions for the future.

PROGRAMME (abstracts and further information for download):
Friday, 18 October 2019
Sabine Chai, team lead Albert Schweitzer Haus – Civil Society Forum
Daniela Finzi, research director Sigmund Freud Museum
Jeanne Wolff Bernstein, chairwoman of the advisory board of the Sigmund Freud Foundation
17.30 – 19.00  Panel 1: Responsibility and Brutalisation of Language
Wolfgang Martin Roth: Die Macht des freien Wortes und die Mächtigen. Die Bemühungen des nationalen und internationalen PEN um Freilassung von  inhaftierten Schriftstellern und Journalisten (in German)
Hans Rauscher: Flüchtlinge und Zuwanderer als „Invasoren“. Die Umdeutung der Begriffe im Diskurs rechtspopulistischer Politiker und Medien, sowie in den Internet-Foren – und wie man ihr begegnet (in German)
Moderated by Jeanne Wolff Bernstein
19.30 – 20.30
Spyros D. Orfanos: Waiting for the Barbarians: Refugees and a Psychoanalytic Perspective (in English)
Moderated by Herman Westerink
Saturday, 19 October 2019
9.30 – 11.00  Panel 2: Identity Politics
Sama Maani: Der Heiligenscheinorgasmus: Wie Identitätspolitik den Geist tötet (in German)
Laura Wiesböck: Wer ist es wert zu bleiben? Über Heldentum, Opferdasein und Selbstgerechtigkeit (in German)
Moderated by Judith Ransmayr
11.30 – 13.30  Panel 3Concept of Homeland
Rainer Gross: Exkludierender oder offener Heimatbegriff? (in German)
Antonia Rados: Heimatbegriff im Orient (in German)
Markus Brunner: Von der heilen Welt, den Eindringlingen und den Nestbeschmutzern. Die Nation als Ganzheits- und Reinheitsversprechen (in German)
Moderated by Monika Pessler

15.00 – 17.30  Panel 4: Escape as Trauma. About the Necessity to Work with and for Refugees
Brigitte Lueger-Schuster: Living in a New Country: Challenges, Hopes, Needs – When Refugees Encounter Clinical Psychology (in English)
Dean Ajdukovic: Mental Health of Refugees, Challenges of Their Social Integration and Host Society Response (in English)
Nadja Lorenz: Starke Demokratie durch Schutz der „Schwächsten“ (in German)
Barbara Preitler: Es ist noch immer nicht vorbei … Das verlängerte Leid durch Nicht-Anerkennung und was Psychotherapie trotzdem leisten kann (in German)
Moderated by Daniela Finzi
18.00 – 19.00
Panel discussion with Saya Ahmad and Zakarya Ibrahem (in German)
Photo: Savvapanf Photo – stock.adobe
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