Cruelty in the early environment and its relationship with racism

Lecture followed by a group discussion

A Psychoanalysis and Politics special event

13.00-15.00, March 23rd 2019

Litteraturhuset, room: Kverneland, Wergelandsveien 29, 0167 Oslo

Registration for this event has now closed.
(You will only be able to attend if you are on the list of participants.)

Today sees the rise of nationalism, the return of totalitarian parties in Europe to electoral success, and the rise of the alt-right and white supremacists in the US. Jonathan Sklar brings his understanding of cruelty, sadomasochism, perversion, and other mental mechanisms to shine a light on what has led to this situation. He examines how a cruel environment affects early development, leaving the child unable to believe in a secure, loving environment. He also considers the impact of chronic social and political environments, historically imbued with aggressive scapegoating of certain groups of citizens. Such racist, antisemitic, and misogynous cultures invariably work beneath the surface of society, attacking the ordinary fabric of family life in the provision of a particular model of perpetrators and victims – an unconscious playground in which to enact vicious games of us vs. them. By ridding ourselves of the illusions of our political times, we can find greater freedom to think, develop, challenge, and create hope for the future.

Jonathan Sklar is an Independent training analyst and fellow of the British Psychoanalytical Society; he’s worked in private practice for over 35 years. He teaches and supervises at the Institute of Psychoanalysis where he regularly has a course on Ferenczi. For ten years he convened a psychoanalytic conference in Cape Town and taught in Chicago termly for a decade. He has lectured widely in Eastern Europe and in the U.S, Canada and South America.

He has been Vice President of the European Psychoanalytic Federation and is currently on the board of the IPA.

He has numerous psychoanalytic papers published and is the author of Landscapes of the Dark: History, Trauma, Psychoanalysis, Karnac, 2011, Balint Matters: Psychosomatics and the Art of Assessment, Karnac 2017, and Dark Times: Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Politics, History and Mourning, Phoenix 2018.

Chair: Lene Auestad