Impossible Occupations: Marxism and Psychoanalysis


Leftforum 2012

Pace University

1 Pace Plaza

New York, NY 10038

Date & Time

Mar. 17, 2012
03:00pm —04:50pm

Free Event

Event Description

A panel at Leftforum 2012.

Since Freud established it as a major current in modern social thought, Marxists have sought to apply the theory and practice of psychoanalysis to advance the socialist revolution. Many consider these figures as “Freudo-Marxists,” maverick theoreticians engaged in a quixotic if fascinating attempt to synthesize disparate theories of psychology and politics. Yet this now-standard view obscures an underlying commonality: both Marxism and psychoanalysis are fundamentally concerned with realizing the potential for human freedom. Both Marx and Freud address themselves to the persistence of irrationality in modern life, whether understood in terms of sickness and suffering, on the one hand, or social domination and exploitation, on the other. But now that the practical influence of both movements has reached an all-time low, what do these dying traditions have to say to one another? Might the decline of each have something to tell us about the decline of the other? Can psychoanalysis, which is now all but confined to professional physicians and psychotherapists, still contribute to revolutionary anti-capitalism? This panel will host a critical conversation on the relation between Marxism and psychoanalysis in order to advance the possibility of emancipatory politics for our time.

  • Christie Offenbacher
  • Independent Scholar
  • Ben Koditschek
  • University of Chicago
  • Robert Hullot-Kentor
  • The School of Visual Arts


  • Greg Gabrellas


  • the Platypus Affiliated Society