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DPS Half-Day Conference: Siding with the Resistance: Psychoanalysis and Political Action

Saturday, April 24, 2021, 10:00 AM until 1:00 PM
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Non-CSCSW Events
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DPS Half-Day Conference

Title:  Siding with the Resistance: Psychoanalysis and Political Action Featuring Steven Reisner, PhD


  The promise of psychoanalysis is simple: understanding leads to change. If there is no change, there has not been understanding. The analyst’s tool is the ability to smell denial, repression and dissociation, the particularly where these inhibit Eros: the capacity to love and to act on that love. Freud provided us with this tool and with a value system to guide us both in understanding the sources of our fears and the mechanisms of our liberation. Over the decades, Freud increasingly expanded the reach of psychoanalysis to include political analysis and change. Starting in 1915, he applied the theory of narcissism, and the life and death drives, as a response to the greatest threat of the 20th century: war. Today, we must use Freud’s tools and values to combat the threats of the 21st century: mass fear and denial in the face of the devastating effects of neoliberal capitalism. Because what neoliberal capitalism (the economic philosophy associated with free market capitalism) has unleashed - the climate emergency, the pandemic, racism, economic disparity, and the increasingly widespread desire for authoritarian government - are today’s equivalent of the world wars of the 20th century. Now, like then, civilization is facing a mortal threat; and if we are to avert it, our society desperately needs psychoanalysis.