Abstract: This year marks one century from the first publication of Mass Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego by Sigmund Freud. What has been the importance of this text for social and political inquiry diachronically? What is its relevance today? It is to these two questions that this text is devoted. Attention is first given to the broader choreography between psychoanalysis and socio-political inquiry. Focus is then directed to the way populism research in particular has benefited from the ensuing re-orientation. Debates around ‘post-truth’ are also discussed within this context.
This paper focuses on Freud’s interpretation of racism and xenophobia as described in his essay “A Comment on Anti-Semitism” and in his “Letter to the Editor of Time and Tide“. The psychobiographical method Jean-Louis Maisonneuve uses in his work L’extrême droite sur le divan is also critiqued. An alternative starting point for a psychoanalytic interpretation of racism and xenophobia is found in the works of Tahar Ben Jelloun and Gerard Miller, in which racist language and sexual fantasies projected onto immigrants are analysed.
In this article the author explores the possibility of a structural link between several cultural changes in contemporary society, better known as the very idea of a postmodern culture, and a significant change in clinical practice. Since the crisis of 1968, which was in essence a revolt against paternal authority, and since Lyotard wrote his La condition postmoderne (Lyotard, 1979) it is incontestable that western culture has been marked by a structural shift. As post-political, liberal subjects we are perceived as being free, detached from the obstacles of our primal identifications with our parents, country or socio-economic class. Nowadays, we are free-floating subjects in a decentralised universe trying to transgress the symbolic law and to achieve the ultimate object of desire. But it is quite paradoxical that this extreme liberalism finds its counterpart in both the explosive violence of the real and the massive pressure of the imaginary order. The main aim of this article is a psychoanalytical exploration of a possible structural connection between those two orders.