FREUD’S MASS PSYCHOLOGY TODAY: PSYCHOANALYSIS, POLITICS AND POPULISM IN THE AGE OF POST-TRUTH

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.

ANALYSIS, HEGEL AND THE SEVENTH ART

Summary: This paper investigates the significance of filmic analysis in the contemporary theoretical paradigm inspired by Slavoj Žižek, which we term ‘Transcendental Materialism’. After characterising its distinct peculiarities within the history of psychoanalysis and film theory, we demonstrate the limitations of previous (possible) answers, arguing they are partly formulated in response to confrontations with other paradigms. Our own approach is then informed by a study of another popular object of analysis in Transcendental Materialism – the joke. We show how Freud’s understanding of the joke was adapted by the paradigm and supported further by certain philosophical insights by (among others) G.W.F. Hegel. Finally, we demonstrate how parallels can be drawn between this adaptation and the significance of the filmic form within Transcendental Materialism, inspired in part by Alain Badiou’s reading of Hegel.

The subject and the lie: from méconnaissance to mensonge

In this paper the author discusses Lacan’s changing theory of the subject in the early texts of the Écrits and relates it to the notion of “the lie” in psychoanalysis. As Lacan’s view of the subject shifts form the Imaginary to the Symbolic, the source of man’s primordial discord and alienation shifts from being located in the relationship to the image to finding its source in the relationship to the signifier. We could qualify the shift from an imaginary to a symbolic subject theory as a shift from one kind of not wanting to know to another, as a shift from one kind of lie to another. We discuss this as a shift from méconnaissance in the Imaginary to mensonge in the Symbolic. We conclude with a few remarks on the notion of truth in psychoanalysis, the consequences for clinical practice and the role of the psychoanalyst, who is now redefined as a practitioner of the symbolic function.

The clinical interpretation of Don Quixote

In this contribution we take a psychoanalytic look at the novel The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. We follow the clinical adventures of Don Quixote and the diagnostic interpretations he comes across on his journey. We discuss a number of psychoanalytic case formulations that situate the knight in the realm of psychosis and that endeavour to construct the clinical logic of his adventures. Via a discussion of Lacan’s remarks on bovarysm and a consideration of the relationship between literature and psychoanalysis, we come to a second section, where we find our knight again, now no longer as a model of madness, but as a paragon of normalcy. Here Don Quixote has become a paradigmatic example of the way human identity and subjectivity are rooted in narrative and fantasy. Here each one of us becomes a Don Quixote, wandering through the world, guided by delusions and misapprehensions. We conclude with an examination of the way in which the fiction of psychoanalysis relates to the fiction of the subject. Here we encounter the psychoanalyst as a Don Quixote.

Le dansêtre – on psychoanalysis and dance

This article tries to provide a few concepts that can be of interest when thinking about dance, a theme that’s been rarely explored within psychoanalytic literature. Based on interviews conducted with professional dancers, we develop the idea of the dansêtre, in analogy to what Lacan specifies as the parlêtre. With this term we refer to the dancer who carries out a singular dance consisting of repetitive movements which are linked with a bodily jouissance. This entails that, through these movements, the real of the body can partly be experienced while at the same moment the dance movement offers a way of coping with this bodily jouissance. At this point something sinthomatic appears, a way of dealing with the real which has no sense. The factor that drives the singular dance doesn’t seem to belong to the symbolico-imaginary and is therefore unknown to the dancer. Yet the own singular dance is expressed anyway and it is by expressing it that the dansêtre takes shape. By elaborating this concept, we aim to invite future research regarding dance. The way in which the bodily jouissance takes place in dance, seems a question that can lead to interesting findings, taken that we are all confronted with the capricious real of the body.