Call for papers – Ulsteinvik, Norway, JULY 29th – AUGUST 5th 2013

In “Remembering, Repeating and Working Through” Freud (1914g) posits acting out as the obverse of remembering. “‘Agieren’ write Laplanche and Pontalis (1973), “is nearly always coupled with ‘erinnern’, to remember, the two being contrasting ways of bringing the past into the present.” In Freud’s words: “the patient acts it before us, as it were, instead of reporting it to us” (1940a [1938]) – yielding to the compulsion to repeat. Acting out is thus located alongside repetition and resistance. But, can psychoanalytic discourse conceptualise actions, or political praxis, otherwise than as acting out? Is political praxis, from a psychoanalytic perspective, always to be understood as resistance to remembering in the context of transference? In Laplanche and Pontalis’ formulation: “One of the outstanding tasks of psycho-analysis is to ground the distinction between transference and acting out on criteria other than purely technical ones – or even mere considerations of locale (does something happen within the consulting room or not?). This task presupposes a reformulation of the concepts of action and actualisation and a fresh definition of the different modalities of communication.” Along this line of questioning, we might ask: is it possible to conceptualise psychoanalytically different kinds of acting?

In relation to political activism, Hanna Segal cites Nadejda Mandelstam on the dangers of keeping silent about politics, as is common practice in psychoanalysis, by asserting: “Silence is the real crime against humanity” (Segal, 1987). Thus a question is raised about the place the analyst can or should occupy when it comes to political praxis. Are neutrality, abstinence and silence techniques that can be understood as political praxes as well, and if so, do they conceal the danger of political passivity? Are there any other possibilities for the analyst to occupy a political place? The passivity of the analyst, however, is meant to promote the patient’s speech, thinking and memory. Can political action or praxis be understood as promoting memory and thinking rather than avoiding them? Segal’s position, along these lines, identifies articulation of psychic mechanisms like denial, projection and magical thinking in political life as a political act allied with memory and reflection: “To be acquainted with facts and recognize psychic facts, which we of all people know something about, and to have the courage to try to state them clearly, is in fact the psychoanalytic stand.”

We invite contributions that discuss the potential political role of psychoanalytic thinking and reflections on psychoanalytic understandings of action, activism, ‘engagement’ and ‘neutrality’ within and beyond the frame of the consulting room.

This is an interdisciplinary conference – we invite theoretical contributions and historical, literary or clinical case studies on these and related themes from philosophers, sociologists, psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, literary theorists, historians and others. Perspectives from different psychoanalytic schools will be most welcome.

Presentations are expected to take half an hour; another 20 minutes is set aside for discussion. Please send an abstract of 200 to 300 words to moc.liamgnull@scitilop.sisylanaohcysp by May 10th 2013. Abstracts received after this date will not be considered.

We will respond by, and present a preliminary programme on, May 15th 2013. If you would like to sign up to participate without presenting a paper, please e-mail us to let us know, and say a few words about yourself if you have not participated in previous Psychoanalysis and Politics symposia. 



Psychoanalysis and Politics is a conference series that aims to address how crucial contemporary political issues may be fruitfully analyzed through psychoanalytic theory and vice versa – how political phenomena may reflect back on psychoanalytic thinking.  The series is interdisciplinary; we invite theoretical contributions and historical, literary or clinical case studies from philosophers, sociologists, psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, group analysts, literary theorists, historians and others. Perspectives from different psychoanalytic schools are most welcome.

We emphasise room for discussion among the presenters and participants, thus the symposium series creates a space where representatives of different perspectives come together and engage with one another’s contributions, participating in a community of thought.

We aim to be non-discriminatory and egalitarian. Disrespect or discrimination towards the forum or any of its participants on the basis of nationality, skin colour, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexuality will not be tolerated.

We aim to disseminate the knowledge produced in these fora by means of publications.


Non-exclusive list of some relevant literature

Auestad, L. ed. (2012) Psychoanalysis and Politics. Exclusion and the Politics of Representation. London: Karnac.

Borossa, J./Ward, I. (2009) “Psychoanalysis, Fascism and Fundamentalism”, Psychoanalysis and History Special Issue, vol. 11 no 2.

Danto, E. A. (2005) Freud’s Free Clinics: Psychoanalysis & Social Justice, 1918-1938 New York: Columbia University Press.

Freud, S. (1908d) ‘Civilized’ Sexual Morality and Modern Nervous Illness. S.E., 9.

Freud, S. (1914g) Remembering, Repeating and Working-Through, S.E., 12.

Freud, S. (1921c) Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, S.E., 18.

Freud, S. (1927c) The Future of an Illusion, S.E., 21.

Freud, S. (1933b [1932]) Why War?, S.E., 22.

Freud, S. (1940a [1938]) An Outline of Psycho-Analysis, S.E., 23.

Frosh, S. (2010) Psychoanalysis outside the Clinic. Interventions in Psychosocial Studies. Houndsmills: Palgrave Macmillan.

Hoggett, P. (1992) Partisans in an Uncertain World: The Psychoanalysis of Engagement. London: Free Association Books.

Jacoby, R. (1983) The Repression of Psychoanalysis. Otto Fenichel and the Political Freudians. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.

Laplanche, J. and Pontalis, J.B. (1973). The Language of Psycho-Analysis. Int. Psycho-Anal. Lib., 94:1-497

Layton, L/Hollander, N. C/Gutwill, S. eds. (2006) Psychoanalysis, Class and Politics. Encounters in the Clinical Setting. London and New York: Routledge.

Milino, A./Ware, C. eds. Where Id Was. Challenging Normalization in Psychoanalysis. London and New York: Continuum.

Rose, J. (1993) Why War? Psychoanalysis, Politics, and the Return to Melanie Klein. Oxford, UK & Cambridge, USA: Blackwell.

Segal, H. (1987) “Silence is the Real Crime” in Int. Rev. Psycho-Anal. vol. 14. no 3.

Steiner, R. (2000) “It is a New Kind of Diaspora”. Explorations in the Sociopolitical and Cultural Context of Psychoanalysis. London: Karnac Books.



Julia Borossa, representing Psychoanalysis and Politics, is the Director of the Centre for Psychoanalysis at Middlesex University whose function is to provide a vehicle for scholarly activity, including MA and PhD programmes in Psychoanalysis, host international conferences, seminars and workshops and develop research projects with colleagues from the European Union, the Middle East, Russia and Latin America. Borossa has an interdisciplinary academic background with an MA in Comparative Literature and a PhD in History and Philosophy of Science. Her research interests and publications are in the history, politics and cultures of the psychoanalytic movement, with particular reference to the question of its ‘extensions’ outside the West. She has also written on narratives of trauma and resilience, with respect to the Sieges of Leningrad and Beirut.

She has presented her work at international conferences, as well as at public venues such as the Tate, the Hayward Gallery and the Freud Museum. She is on the organizing committee of Therip, The Higher Education Research in Psychoanalysis Network, and a consultant and named participant in the successful ESRC Global Uncertainties Leadership Project, led by Prof. Caroline Rooney, ‘Imagining the Common Ground’. In addition, Borossa also has expertise in group relations and group analysis. She is the editor of Sandor Ferenczi: Selected Writings, Penguin, 1999, and, with Ivan Ward, of Psychoanalysis, Fascism, Fundamentalism, Edinburgh U.P. 2009, and, with Catalina Bronstein and Claire Pajaczkowszka, of the forthcoming New Klein Lacan Dialogues. She is author of Hysteria, Icon 2001, and has contributed both to Psychoanalysis and Politics: Exclusion and the Politics of Representation, Karnac, 2012 and to the forthcoming Nationalism and the Body Politic, Karnac 2013.


Nina Power, representing the Popmodernism circle, is Senior Lecturer in philosophy at the University of Roehampton as well as an important public intellectual. Her ways of being a public intellectual, in the blogosphere – in the now, unfortunately, now closed blog “Infinite Thought” – in newspapers (The Guardian) and magazines (Film Quarterly, The Wire, and more), shows a contemporary way of being an intellectual, where the “security” of the university and a free-lance market meet.

Her work is grounded in Marxism as well as modern continental philosophy, political theory, diverse forms of radicalism, feminism, and new media. Her book One Dimensional Woman (2009) discusses feminism with a particular focus upon consumption, leading to renewed questions about the political dimension of a still-ongoing feminist project.

The 2013 summer session will take place at Sunnmøre Folkehøgskule, Ulsteinvik, on the west coast of Norway. Arrival: Monday 29th of July Departure: Monday 5th of August

Accommodation and all meals are included in the price of the summer session. They have great rooms and offer accommodation with various standards, ranging from family rooms hotel standard with its own bathroom, internet connection and TV, with single bunk beds. Most units also have their own balcony with beautiful views. In addition to the bedrooms, the building has excellent classrooms / amphitheatre, dining room, several living rooms and a cosy common area with wireless Internet, billiards, table tennis and TV. There are also service stations for washing and drying clothes.

There are golf courses 5 min from the school -Driving Range w / exercise area for golf, fine sand beach, beach volley court, climbing hall and outdoor climbing.

Sunnmøre Folkehøgskule is an alcohol free place. This means that they do not serve alcohol at the site, but they are not concerned about what people drink. For most participants coming to Norway means leaving the European Union; you are advised to take a full quota from the airport you travel from and bring it with you to the summer session.


Amounts in Euros are only indicative; amounts in NOK are exact.
Single room: 5000 NOK (650 EUR)
Double room: 3150 NOK (410 EUR)
Three or four person room: 2400 NOK (310 EUR)
Children between 4 and 15 years on extra bed: 920 NOK (120 EUR)
Children below 3 years, in their parents bed or one’s own travel bed: Free
Discount for master students: 1500 NOK (200 EUR)
Prices include all meals and activities (except excursions).


Flight travel
There are direct flights to Ålesund Airport from a few destinations: Copenhagen, Newcastle, London (Gatwick), Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim and Stavanger.
If you want to travel by plane, but not from any of the destinations above, Oslo Airport, Gardermoen (OSL) is the most central airport with most departures to Ålesund Airport and Hovden Airport.
The two airports closest to Ulsteinvik are: Hovden Airport (HVO), Ørsta/Volda and Ålesund Airport (AES), Vigra.

Hovden Airport (HVO), Ørsta/Volda. Details:
From Hovden Airport it is possible to take a bus to either Volda or Ørsta.
From both Volda and Ørsta you can travel with bus to Ulsteinvik. Check for schedules.

Ålesund Airport (AES), Vigra. Details:
From Ålesund Airport, Vigra  you can take the flight bus to the city centre of Ålesund. The price is 80kr.
You can take a boat from Ålesund city centre to Hareid. The price is 95kr for adults and 50kr for children.
Transport from Hareid to Ulsteinvik will be arranged by the Summer session.  Contact the Summer session for more info.

Arrkom (the organising committee):

Responsible for the cultural programme: Solveig Styve Holte, moc.liamgnull@etlohgievlos
Responsible for the economy: Haakon Flemmen, on.nemmelfnull@nokaah
Responsible for the information: Sidsel Pape, ten.i2cnull@epaps