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‘Politics and the Unconscious’ LGS Summer Academy 2018

Posted: Thursday 19 Oct 2017
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The London Graduate School is pleased to announce details of its 2018 Summer Academy, an intensive week-long programme offered annually for postgraduate students of any institutional affiliation. This year’s Summer Academy is held in conjunction with The London Society of the New Lacanian School, The Lacanian Review, The Journal for Cultural Research and the Department of Psychoanalysis at the University of Paris VIII.

What can psychoanalysis tell us about the recent volatility in politics, the rise in forms of populism that have greeted the financial crises of capitalism, accompanied by an apparent resurgence in racism? These developments were predicted by Jacques Lacan in some of his later texts from the 1970s. For Lacan, it was evident that the post-patriarchal promise of the events in 1968 period was giving way to a consumer capitalism that would result in the exhaustion of the possibilities of individualist culture and the cultivated individual. With the Western mode of jouissance ‘going off track’, Lacan said, ‘only the Other is able to mark its position, but only in so far as we are separated from this Other’. (Television) In the midst of a civilization that finds its justification in the management of life and the pleasure principle, ’we have no knowledge of the jouissance from which we might take our orientation. We only know how to reject the jouissance of others’ (Laurent, ‘Racism 2.0’). In this summer school, we propose to re-assess the contention, implicit in Freud’s ‘Group Psychology and the Ego’, that ‘the unconscious is politics’.  In the shadow of the discontents of contemporary civilization, we will look at current developments in the Lacanian orientation in psychoanalysis. Fifty years after ‘the structures took to the streets’ against the paternalism of the bourgeois State, can we perhaps see the emergence of a populism that, even as it decks itself the nostalgic banners of nationalism (and socialism), actually derives its energy from ‘a new alliance between identification and the drive’, (Laurent, ‘Contemporary Symptoms’), an aggressive, death-driven drive that takes its bearings from that which is inassimilable in the jouissance of the Other?


What, in brief, is the possibility of psychoanalysis not just diagnosing political discontents, but intervening in politics? Further, if there is an ‘ethics of psychoanalysis’ what is its politics?

This year’s programme will feature:

Marie-Hélène Brousse

Peter Buse

Philip Dravers

Peter Hallward

Éric Laurent

Clotilde Leguil

Jean-Claude Milner

Scott Wilson

Colin Wright

Registration is free, but by application only. The number of places is strictly limited. The closing date for applications is 3rd February 2017. To apply, please send an expression of interest outlining why you would benefit from participation in the Summer School, current CV, and sample of recent work by email to Professors Peter Buse and Scott Wilson at the following email address: . Please head your email “London Graduate School Summer Academy 2018”. Students must make their own arrangements for accommodation during the week. All tuition and course-attendance is wholly free of charge for all selected candidates.

The Summer Academy expresses our commitment to the future of rigorous and provocative thought, supporting new generations of scholars in the critical humanities. We want to reaffirm the transformative potential of the legacy with which we engage, believing that its critical renewal is best served by bringing together the strongest expertise and the most exciting new talent.




Main texts:

Sigmund Freud, ‘Group Psychology and the Ego’

Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents

Jacques Lacan, The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, Seminar VII

Jacques Lacan, The Other side of Psychoanalysis, Seminar XVII

Jacques Lacan, Television


Supplementary texts


Brousse, Marie-Helene (ed) (2017)  ‘Segregations: Desire as Subversion of Identity’, The Lacanian Review 03.

Laurent, E, (2014) ‘Racism 2.0’ http://ampblog2006.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/lq-in-english-racism-20-by-eric-laurent.html


Eric Laurent, (2015) The Unconscious is Politics

Laurent, E and Jacques-Alain Miller (1998) ‘The Other Who Does Not Exist and His Ethical Committees’ Almanac 15; pp. 15-35.

Miller, J.-A., (2011) ‘Lacan’s Prophecies’, translated by A. R. Price in Hurly-Burly Issue 6, November 2011, pp. 217-20. See also: http://lacan.com/symptom12/?p=175


Miller, J-A (2005) ‘Lacanian Politics: A Fantasy’ in Lacanian Praxis’ 1: 6-17

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