Psychoanalysis and The Public Sphere: Social Justice

A 3 day conference organised by David Morgan and Kurt Jacobsen of Free Associations Journal in conjunction with Freud Museum

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24 September, 2021, 2:00 pm - 26 September, 2021, 6:00 pm

£22 – £68

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24 September 2pm – 26 September 2-6pm BST (daily)

This 3 day conference explores acute professional challenges and dilemmas that arise from confronting the power exerted by external arrangements upon us. Where do we draw the line between internal and external forces, and why?

Is the therapeutic goal of ‘ordinary unhappiness’ at odds with the pursuit of social justice, that is, of altering skewed environments that we all operate within? Freud’s objective, after all, was never stipulated as the ultimate limit of psychoanalytic ambition but rather as a creditable mark of therapeutic achievement for someone starting from hysterical misery. Does the psychoanalyst’s task necessarily end where the doorstep to the consulting room begins? Is it reasonable, and practical, to assume that unjust social conditions do not accompany the client/patient into the therapeutic situation, and affix to them no less powerfully when the hour is up?

Novelist Mary McCarthy rued as a ‘Pharisaical virtue’ any attempt ‘to fill a child’s stomach and send it home to be hungry again.’ Is there not a psychological counterpart to this plight?

Race, class and institutional power matter and are not (only) mental constructs. Should one ever encourage a client, figuratively speaking, ‘to take up arms against a sea of troubles’? What is the proper ambit of analysis?

Click here to view and download the programme.


Friday September 24 (2pm – 6pm)I. Perils of Adjustment in an Age of Rising Inequality (David Bell, Penny Campling, Jill Gentile, Eli Zaretsky) Chair: David Morgan

II. Is Rationality Reasonable? (Stephen Eric Bronner, Samir Gandesha, Rye Dag Holmboe, Michael Rustin) Chair: Kurt Jacobsen

Saturday September 25 (2pm – 6pm)

III. Diversity as Panacea?: Integrating Considerations of Race, Caste and Class (Carlton Jama Adams, Farhad Dalal, Stephen Frosh, Annie Lee Jones) Chair: Amal Treacher Kabesh

IV. Off the Oasis: Consulting Rooms and the Intrusive World (Constanza Aranguren, Carolyn Laubender, Patricia Morris, Valerie Sinason) Chair: Philip Stokoe

Sunday September 26 (2pm – 6pm)

V. Roundtable Discussion: Social Justice and Group Psychology and the Analysis of The Ego today: (Lene Auestad, Amy Buzby, Bob Hinshelwood, Agnieszka Piotrowska, Sabby Sagall) Chair: Barry Richards

VI. Is Social Justice Just an Obscure Object of Desire? (John Alderdice, Neil McLaughlin, Ian Parker, Susie Orbach) Chair: Lisa Appignanesi

Please Note

All tickets prices include the Eventbrite booking fee.

Recordings will be made available to attendees for 30 days after the event. You will receive your access details automatically 24 hours after the close of the conference.

A limited number of bursary tickets for the full conference are available at £24 for young people under the age of 18, and people receiving UK benefits or accessing NHS mental health services. Please apply to Sarah Usherwood ([email protected]) to request a bursary ticket.


24 September, 2021, 2:00 pm
26 September, 2021, 6:00 pm
£22 – £68
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