What’s My Line? Agendas in Analytic Social Psychology
- Jeremy Cohan, Greg Gabrellas, Scott Jenkins, and Lynne Layton
In troubled times, it is worth asking basic questions—How do inner life and social form relate? Can an analytic social psychology contribute to social critique and change? Whose sleep is troubled? But we too often treat theory as a given, ready for launch against new happenings. We get a perpetual inventory, a critical cataloguing of events. But we don’t create an agenda for research that points toward possibilities of transformation. Analytic Social Psychology lives or dies with these agendas. They are shaped by theories concerning the core elements of psychoanalysis. They put forward core questions. They confront the obscure dynamics of domination. They have changed and must change. Emphasizing these changes means finding differences even among allies in the struggle for a better world, for the sake of clarity and purpose. The borders between theories can help elucidate the problems of our time.
This roundtable invites participants to discuss the theoretical fundamentals of analytic social psychology by examining schools that set strong agendas for it. Presenters will take on, for purposes of breadth and depth, the Sex-Political school/movement of Wilhelm Reich (1933), the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory (1945), and the Ljubljana school (1989), among others—their fundamental theories and their entwinement in political history. Each of these formations will be presented through a brief report on its fundamental fault lines. Each presentation will be followed by discussion. All participants will then have an opportunity to raise questions about the present, motivated by the conversation. We feel that this dialogue, while it may prove a modest contribution toward the formulation of a new agenda in social psychology, is important to the continuing vitality of psychoanalytic social theory as we draw, redraw, and efface the borders between sociology and psychology, society and individual, the status quo and an emancipated world.