Return of the Repressed? Psychoanalysis and the Legacy of Totalitarianism in the 21st Century

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Return of the Repressed?
Psychoanalysis and the Legacy of Totalitarianism in the 21st Century

Museum of the History of Polish Jews POLIN, ul. Mordechaja Anielewicza 6,
00-157 Warsaw, Audytorium

Cooperation:
Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Pedagogical University, Cracow, International Psychoanalytic University Berlin, NPRH Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education, Polish Psychoanalytic Society, Warsaw, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Polin, Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Polish Academy of Sciences.

Scientific and Organisational Committee:
Ewa Kobylinska-Dehe (IPU Berlin, IFiS PAN), Paweł Dybel (IFiS PAN, Warsaw, UP Cracow), Katarzyna Prot-Klinger (APS, Warsaw), Karolina Szymaniak (Wroclaw University), Ludger M. Hermanns (Karl Abraham Institut, Berlin), Ewa Głód (PTPa, Warsaw)

The term “Return of the repressed“ refers to the tendency discovered by Freud to repeat the past that has not been worked through in the form of symptoms. We would like to ask the question if the “antiliberal turn“ in Poland and in other post-communist countries, also noticeable in Germany and in some West-European countries, could be treated as the symptom of the legacy of past century totalitarianism that has not been worked through? Or is it the expression of new regression to archaic fears and politically manipulated aggression towards the globalisation processes that cannot be integrated by the traditional democratic mechanisms?

Are the current crisis of liberal democracy and the breaking down of European project only temporary phenomena or do they have deeper roots in the socio-cultural transformations of our time? Psychoanalysis as the heir of European Enlightenment preached the ideas of social and individual emancipation. The Freudian project consisted of three elements: ethics of self-knowledge, critical hermeneutics of culture and psychotherapy. But as the result of the development of psychoanalysis the therapeutic element became dominating.

We would like to ask the question about the critical potential of contemporary psychoanalysis. Does it offer the adequate cognitive means to understand the disturbing social phenomena? Could it becomethe critical theory and practice again?
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