Dr. Robert Fletcher (SDC)
Dr. Pieter de Vries (SDC)
Dr. Chizu Sato (SCH)
Dr. Jelle Behagel (FNP)
Dr. Yahya Madra (Drew University)
The two-day intensive PhD workshop ‘Psychoanalysis and Political Economy’ complements the international seminar on the same theme bringing together prominent scholars from around the world from 12-13 May in Wageningen, the Netherlands. The workshop will thus give motivated PhD students a solid foundation to participate in this seminar, from which they will emerge with an understanding of cutting-edge developments in this growing area of inquiry.
In recent years a growing group of researchers has asserted that understandings of political economic processes focused on logics of capital accumulation should be supplemented by consideration of the psychodynamic mechanisms that animate these processes. Political economy has been quite effective in critiquing neoliberal capitalism in terms of ecological, economic, and social unsustainability. Yet the effects of this critique have been limited, such that it now seems easier to imagine the end of the world via environmental apocalypse than the possibility of transforming the mode of production, as expressed in the neoliberal slogan TINA (‘there is no alternative’). At the same time we can observe how foreclosure of the possibility of systemic transformation generates all kinds of anxieties and fears (food risks, terrorism, ecological disasters, precarity, etc.). Psychoanalysis thus supplements the critique of political economy by looking at the ways in which the “post-political” foreclosure of dissent produces phantasmatic objects (the Terrorist as well as biogenetic monsters, contagious diseases, and so forth). From a psychoanalytic perspective, this is the “return of the repressed” exposing our inability to face the inherent contradictions of neoliberal capitalism.
The PhD course aims to provide students with an advanced introduction to recent academic thinking on these two important areas of inquiry and their intersection. Two days of intensive coursework and discussions will lay the foundations for the capstone two-day seminar. In group discussions, we will aim to stimulate intellectual debate through various strands of argument and critique and contest these from various angles. In this way, the course also explicitly incorporates development of academic debating skills.