19th to 21st of MARCH 2010

Below is the call for papers, written by Lene Auestad and sent to a wide range of academic institutions from ultimo September 2009. We received a total of 38 abstracts within the deadline of December 1st, (the ones received later have not been counted) – much more than would fit into a three-day programme, and much more than the funding allowed for. The quality of the contributions was on the whole very high, thus, regrettably, even some very good abstracts had to be rejected. 17 abstracts were selected. Three speakers were forced to cancel before the symposium; the final programme consisted of 14 papers.

Thinking psychoanalytically about the nature of social exclusion involves a self-questioning on the part of the interpreter. While we may all have some experiences of having been subject to stereotyping, silencing, discrimination or exclusion, it is also the case that, as social beings, we all, to some extent, participate in upholding these practices, often unconsciously. In beginning to analyse transference, Freud, by moving his own authority into the open, made the functioning of power into a topic for reflection. This topic extends into the question of what power, or violence goes into the making of the ‘I’; how do the boundaries that separate self from other come into being? Freud described how the familiar and old-established in the mind becomes alienated from it through repression; “From the idea of ‘homelike’, ‘belonging to the house’, the further idea is developed of something withdrawn from the eyes of strangers, something concealed, secret; and this idea is expanded in many ways…”, thus what was originally heimlich became unheimlich.

If we think of the ‘I’ as composed out of a set of identifications, we may ask to what extent exclusion, or ‘false projections’ are necessary parts of the process of formation of identity and group-attachments. Do we need to exclude others to love and feel secure in our identity and belonging? If it is true that excluding the other and part of oneself from recognition are closely interrelated, one may ask how this evolves in social space, and how the effects of the process on both sides of the relation of misrecognition can be described.

One may ask how psychoanalysis can be used to think about the invisible and subtle processes of power over symbolic representation, in the context of stereotyping and dehumanization: What forces govern the state of affairs that determine who is an ‘I’ and who is an ‘it’ in the public sphere?

Thinking in terms of ‘containment’, a communication which is denied a social space for expression can be said to be actively stripped of meaning. Through its original contribution of attending to, and interpreting material that so far had seemed meaningless, psychoanalysis has demonstrated a capacity to reinstall meaning where none was before – but how are such acts performed on a social level?

Psychoanalysis has given us concepts allowing for the perception of phenomena such as displacement and repression, though conceptualization of their social manifestations stands in need of further development. When common responsibility is displaced onto a suitable class or group and its representatives, the end point is reached when the individual is objectified and the social aspects of the process are no longer recognized. His or her position becomes an illegitimate one from which to speak – the person’s subjectivity is excluded. How can we conceive of the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ of this phenomenon and of possible counter-gestures?

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. Papers must not be previously published and must be available for publication in the planned conference book.

Presentations are expected to take half an hour; another 30 minutes is set aside for discussion. Please send an abstract of 200 to 300 words to moc.liamgnull@scitilop.sisylanaohcysp by December 1st 2009.

This is a relatively small symposium where active participation is encouraged. Researchers, post-graduate students and professionals are invited to attend and present their work in a friendly and enjoyable social atmosphere. A participation fee, which includes a shared dinner, of 500 NOK/600 SEK/440 DKK/€ 60/£ 55/$ 86 is to be paid before the symposium. Additional information in this regard will be given after your abstract has been accepted.

By placing the conference in Copenhagen we wish to pay tribute to the Danish critic and scholar Georg Morris Cohen Brandes (1842-1927), the founder of Cultural Radicalism in Scandinavia.

The conference is funded by The Nordic Ministerial Council, which aims to promote research collaboration between the Nordic countries – Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland – and between these countries and the rest of the world.

The organizers would like to thank The Norwegian Psychoanalytical Society.


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