Authored by: Valerie Walkerdine

Routledge Handbook of Psychoanalytic Political Theory

Print publication date:  September  2019
Online publication date:  September  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138696310
eBook ISBN: 9781315524771
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter discusses recent work on psychoanalysis and neoliberalism. This analysis is situated within a longer history of liberalism as a mode of governance. This is important because the issues that are seen as arising in neoliberalism could be said to have a much longer history—one that is important to understand if we pay attention to how psychoanalysis might be used and understood. This account pays particular attention to the dual function of psychoanalysis: as a practice operating in the governance of both liberalism and neoliberalism and as a critical enterprise that helps us to understand how neoliberalism works. While there is a considerable body of work on the role of the psy sciences in neoliberalism, there is much less on psychoanalysis, and most of that appeared after 2008. Most recent psychoanalytic work concentrates on otherness and the creation of populism. Although this is important, the chapter argues that it is necessary to understand these interventions within the context of the longer history of liberalism that paves the way for the creation of surveillance and of the huge class divisions that are now evident in political and social responses.

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