D.W. Winnicott and Political Theory: Recentering the Subject by Matthew H. Bowker, Amy Buzby

By Matthew H. Bowker, Amy Buzby

In this quantity, the paintings of British psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott is determined in dialog with a few of today’s so much gifted psychodynamically-sensitive political thinkers. The editors and members display that Winnicott’s proposal comprises underappreciated political insights, discoverable in his reflections at the nature of the maturational strategy, and invaluable in operating via tough impasses confronting modern political theorists. in particular, Winnicott’s psychoanalytic concept and perform provide a framework wherein the political topic, destabilized and disrupted in a lot postmodern and modern pondering, should be recentered. every one bankruptcy during this quantity, in its personal approach, grapples with this important subject matter: the opportunity of genuine subjectivity and inter-subjectivity to come up inside of a nexus of autonomy and dependence, aggression and civility, destructiveness and care. This quantity is exclusive in its contribution to the growing to be box of object-relations-oriented political and social thought. it will likely be of curiosity to political scientists, psychologists, and students of comparable matters within the humanities and social sciences.

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What is more, some form of response (conscious or unconscious, productive or regressive) to unfortunate occurrences must be undertaken. , 1984). Perhaps even more importantly, Winnicott was aware that disasters need not always be spectacular in order to be disastrous, as he reminds us in what may be considered his (less poetic and less dualistic) version of Blake’s famous couplet: “Some are Born to sweet delight,/Some are Born to Endless Night” (1982, 492, lines 123–124): I find it useful to divide the world of people into two classes.

On the other hand, in anticipation or response to disaster, it may be that although we feel the regressive, “gravitational” pull (to invoke images from Bonnie Honig’s delightful chapter on von Trier’s “Melancholia”) to an antecedent condition or former “world” constituted by childish fantasy or grandiose illusion, we also find or create in moments of crisis opportunities for subjective growth. Of course, we can only find or create such opportunities if we have the inner and outer resources needed not exactly to “survive” but to surpass, pass through, and emerge renewed.

He would become a candidate at the British Institute for Psycho-­ Analysis in 1927 and would develop a complicated relationship with the British Psychoanalytic Association, which was primarily centered on the figure and ideas of Melanie Klein. Winnicott famously disagreed with Klein on a host of issues, most notably in his belief that aggression can play a role in healthy development and in his rejection of her famous conceptualization of the depressive position. As something of a maverick, an analyst who tended to reject orthodoxy, someone willing to revise even the most accepted concepts, and someone rarely afraid to advance his own thought and methods, Winnicott became a noteworthy force in the British Independent Group, often called the “Middle School,” of British Psychoanalysis.

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