DISTURBING THE SLEEP OF THE WORLD: PSYCHOANALYSIS, SOCIAL AWAKENING & RADICAL POLITICS, the 2023-2024 Colloquium Series
The Colloquium Series 2023-2024 presented by the Psychoanalytic Society of the William Alanson White Institute
Cultural Analysis Now! Urszenen of Money, Powerlessness, and Race
KATHARINA ROTHE, PhD
DISCUSSANT: PASCAL SAUVAYRE, PhD
ABOUT TODAY’S TALK
In recent years, even mainstream psychoanalysis in the Global North has begun to explicitly include the social and political realm into ways of thinking about the individual. But considering individual and intimate suffering as fundamentally and inextricably immersed in the societal realm is not new to psychoanalytic thinking, and the Frankfurt School has been working from this perspective since the 1930s. At the core of their project we find the idea of societal violence — namely, within the capitalistic economic structure — ‘entering’ the subject through interactions with its first others and shaping its drive structure from birth.
Alfred Lorenzer was a vitally important link between the Frankfurt School of Freudian-influenced social critique, and contemporary psychoanalysis. Writing in Germany post-war, and previously unavailable in English, Lorenzer provided radically political and socially engaged reformulations of Freud and the psychoanalytic project. In their book, Cultural Analysis Now! Katharina Rothe, Steffen Krüger and Dan Rosengart bring one of Lorenzer’s seminal texts to anglophone audiences as well four commentaries on the work. For this presentation Dr. Rothe will introduce Lorenzer’s key concepts, such as the scene and scenic understanding that have been employed to critically analyze what we may call the psychosocial or psycho-societal realm. She will discuss scenes around race, money and power in the consulting room in relation to Freud’s primal scenes (Urszenen), and she will then zoom in on the very link between social reality and psychic fantasy when presenting such clinical scenes through the lens of Alfred Lorenzer’s scenic understanding. Pascal Sauvayre is the Discussant.
ABOUT KATHARINE ROTHE, PhD
Katharina Rothe is a psychologist, psychoanalyst and psychosocial researcher. She is a graduate of psychoanalytic training at the W. A. White Institute in New York where she teaches the course Gender, Sex & Sexuality. She also teaches and supervises candidates at the Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis. Alongside maintaining a private practice in NYC, she is widely published in academic journals and books on psychoanalysis, qualitative methods in psychosocial research, sex and gender, anti-Semitism, racism and the aftermath of the Holocaust. She is on the editorial boards of the German journal Psychoanalyse. Texte zur Sozialforschung and of Contemporary Psychoanalysis. Starting October 2023 she will also be teaching at the Sigmund Freud University in Berlin.
ABOUT PASCAL SAUVAYRE, PhD
Pascal Sauvayre is faculty and training analyst at the William Alanson White Institute. He studies, teaches, and writes at the intersection of psychoanalysis and philosophy. A recent project includes editing, with Roger Frie, the book entitled ‘Culture, Politics, and Race in the Making of Interpersonal Psychoanalysis’, published at Routledge. He has a private practice in New York City.
Learning Objectives for this program:
Attendees will be able to explain some of the central ideas of Alfred Lorenzer, such as the psychoanalytic method of “scenic understanding” and the in-depth hermeneutics of culture and society.
Attendees will learn how to construct clinical interpretations that integrate the personal and the social.