Philosophy, psychology, psychoanalysis. Perspectives on social change
Katia Genel & Emmanuel Delille, Philosophy, psychology, psychoanalysis. Perspectives on social change. Foreword
Frédéric Fruteau de Laclos, Repressed compatibilities. Historical anthropology and the return to Freud
French science initially gave psychoanalysis a poor reception. In particular, historical, objective, and comparative psychology have protested against the “fixity” of the Freudian unconscious. It seems difficult, however, to support comparative positions based on a complete variability of the mind. In contrast, epistemologists and psychologists who have made tendencies an anthropological invariant have managed to establish relevant historical comparisons. The study of the first “return to Freud” initiated by Lacan even proves that the recognition of metapsychological principles, far from hindering the practice of comparatism, can help to establish it.
Claire Pagès,Integration of the social norm into the person: Cross-reflections on the social “vicissitudes” of desires. Freud / Adorno & Horkheimer / Elias
The production of desire is informed by the fact that the affective subject is inscribed in a time, a culture, a social milieu, and is dependent on different forms of socialization that dispose or incline a person to desire this or that thing. The three theories we propose to compare point to the mainly social origin of the defenses raised by drive nature. This emotional transformation is called cultural frustration (Kulturversagung) by Freud and total integration or repression by Adorno and Horkheimer, while Elias also calls it repression and suppression of “libidinal valences” (Dämfung der Triebe) but in the sense of an increased capacity for self-control (Selbstkontrolle) or self-constraint (Selbstzwänge).
What specifies and distinguishes each of these three forms of integration of the social norm into the person, to borrow an expression from Elias’s work The Court Society ?
Katia Genel & Agnès Grivaux, Psychoanalysis and critical theory: The question of needs
This article revisits the contribution of psychoanalysis to the development of the critical theory of society developed by Adorno and Horkheimer.
To shed light on the specificity of this contribution, it focuses on the study of the theory of needs elaborated by these authors in the 1940s, which aimed to elucidate the possibility of satisfying the needs of everybody at a social level, without perpetuating the domination of nature. The article examines the contribution of psychoanalysis to the development of this theory, which was constituted in a dialogue with the Freudian notions of self-preservation and anaclisis (Anlehnung). It shows that their theory of needs allows their critical theory of society to put the Freudian theory of drives to the test: their social theory elaborates its concept of need through a confrontation with the naturalness proper to the drive, which in turn allows it to articulate and differentiate internal and external nature in an ingenious manner.
Pierre-François Noppen, Freud and the logic of delusion in “Elements of Anti-Semitism” by Horkheimer and Adorno
This paper examines Horkheimer and Adorno’s controversial account of “political anti-Semitism.” In essence, my reading tracks their critical appropriation of Freud.
I first show how they draw on Totem and Taboo to show that at the core of the Enlightenment process lies a prohibition on mimesis, or imitation. I then show how they rely on Freud’s notion of identification and ego formation to claim that imitation is nevertheless what enables the formation of the rational self and the Enlightenment process. In my reading, this tension creates the conditions for political anti-Semitism to emerge.
Emmanuel Delille, Mental hygiene according to Heinrich Meng. On the fringe of the Institute for Social Research and its networks
This contribution sheds light on the role of the physician and psychoanalyst Heinrich Meng in the networks of the Institute for Social Research, and in particular on his approach to mental hygiene. As deputy director of the Frankfurt Psychoanalytic Institute, working alongside Karl Landauer, Meng was the leader of a program of social reform and prevention called Psychohygiene; the term refers to a conception of mental health based on psychoanalysis. This frame of reference illuminates why and how Meng tended to be a source of proposals for prophylaxis rather than of theory, in unison with educators and associations involved in prevention in the field of mental health. Although Meng was the editor of many books on psychoanalysis applied to social institutions, he remained on the fringe of critical theory, outside both the social sciences and the inner circles of the Institute’s members in exile.
Marion Maurin & Aurélia Peyrical, Introdution to Two Adorno conferences on Freud: Los Angeles, 1948
Theodor W. Adorno, Psychoanalysis & Sociology
Bruno Quélennec, Introduction to « Ernst Simmel and Freudian philosophy » by Max Horkheimer
Max Horkheimer, Ernst Simmel and Freudian philosophy
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Odile Tourneux, The imaginary institution of society in Thomas Hobbes
Although the notion of imagination is central in the work of Thomas Hobbes, it is understudied. Despite the corpus’ apparent homogeneity, the notion of imagination changes significantly over the decades. Hobbes gradually comes to understand the imagination as an inseparably cognitive and affective activity. Eventually, his interest in imagination leads him to place it at the heart of his anthropology and his political system. This article argues that Hobbes makes the imagination the foundation of the social and political institution.
Claire Etchegaray, Grief and loss in Adam Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments
Adam Smith says that grief is a “selfish” passion. Yet according to Patrick Frierson, Smith acknowledges that we experience grief upon losing a person who, in our eyes, has intrinsic value and not simply instrumental value. Why, then, qualify grief as “selfish”? Our answer is drawn from a comparison between two notions of grief, that of Smith and Lord Kames. We then explain why grief, although selfish, may be morally approved. Finally we show that Smith gives an outstanding account of the grieving process and we compare Smith and the Stoics on this matter.
Daniel Loick, Group analysis and consciousness raising. Two techniques for self-transformation around 1968
This paper explores two different techniques of self-transformation that emerged in the context of the revolts of 1968, namely “group analysis,” a version of psychoanalytic self-transformation, practiced in the west-German student movement, and “consciousness raising,” as developed and practiced by radical feminists in the US. By comparing these two practices, I hope to show that the problem with some techniques for socially mediating the individual will arises from a poor choice of methods, and not from the collective discussion of individual affects, as many retrospective accounts of the ’68 era now suggest. I conclude with a brief defense of the politicization of forms of life against its liberal critics.