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Robert Rauschenberg
Port of Entry [Anagram (A Pun)]

Psychoanalysis and the Political

This seminar asks and grapples with the question of what part, if any, psychoanalysis can play in inducing societal transformation at this most crucial moment in the inextricably intertwined histories of humanity and of the Earth. Although there is an argument to be made that psychoanalysis - and perhaps especially Lacanian psychoanalysis - or the act of the analyst, is only practicable in the clinic, we will push toward a conceptualization of the act in constraining “true societal speech.”

This seminar proposes to engage immediate political, civilizational, and individual questions and theoretical constructs in such a way as to ask, "What, if anything, can be done to transform society as we know it? We will trace the circuit(s) of drive and jouissance, as revealed in society, taking special note of the status of the Law with the assumption that while drive must find a place in the symbolic, so must jouissance be encountered/delimited. We will orient ourselves around the work of Cornelius Castoriadis as we explore crucial and immediate questions, especially those relating to threats of imminent civilizational and biospheric collapse.


What constitutes democracy? Is humanity capable of it? 


Can the act of the analyst be deployed outside the clinic, in the political realm? What is it in the analyst that comes at the end of analysis? What is that way of being/experiencing, of knowing, of being with, that allows the analyst his act? What Lacanian names is it known by? Does something akin to it exist in registers other than, or come into the world through experiences other than, that of (Lacanian) analysis? 

Requirements: some desire to work on this with a few others.  And a commitment to closely read selected papers in Cornelius Castoriadis's (1997) World in Fragments: Writings on Politics, Society, Psychoanalysis and the Imagination.

Required readings from:

- Cornelius Castoriadis (1997), Ed. and Trans., David Ames Curtis. World in Fragments: Writings on Politics, Society, Psychoanalysis and the Imagination. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.

Recommended, elective readings:

- Bruno Latour (2018) Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press. 

- Ian Parker and David Pavón-Cuéllar (2021). Psychoanalysis and Revolution: Critical Psychology for Liberation Movements. London: 1968 Press.

- George Jackson. Foreword by Jonathan Jackson, Jr. Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson. Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books.

- Slavoj Zizek (2008). Interrogating the Real. London; New York: Continuum.

- Felix Guattari (1989). The Three Ecologies. London; New York: Bloomsbury Academic.

Faculty: Joseph Scalia III, Psya.D.

Dates and Times: Meeting Times September 2022 to mid-May 2023 every other Friday, starting September 16, 2022 from 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM Pacific Time

Location: Online via Zoom

Fee: $250 or School Tuition

Contact: Joseph Scalia III, Psya.D. at

Joseph Scalia III, Psya.D. is a psychoanalyst in private practice in Livingston, Montana, and an environmental activist and critic. He received his doctorate from the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis, the Psychoanalysis, Society and Culture track. Dr. Scalia treats adults, children, and adolescents, having at first incorporated Modern Psychoanalytic and object relations schools of thought, culminating in five years of supervision and study with Christopher Bollas.  He then immersed himself in Lacanian psychoanalysis, for over a decade at the École Freudienne du Québec, before joining the Lacanian School in San Francisco in 2019. Scalia is the author of Intimate Violence: Attacks Upon Psychic Interiority, and editor of The Vitality of Objects: Exploring the Work of Christopher Bollas. Most recently, his writing efforts have been directed to contemporary environmental ethics and practice. Essays conceptualizing the intertwined stakes of ecological integrity and the imperiled human quest can be found in Mountain Journal, CounterPunch, and Outside Bozeman; interviews can be found on Wilderness Podcast, Rendering Unconscious, and Green Root Podcast. Dr. Scalia is former director of Northern Rockies Psychoanalytic Institute, former president of Montana Wilderness Association, and current president of the Gallatin Yellowstone Wilderness Alliance.

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