Psychoanalysis in Our Time is a 3 year international research initiative funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers. The work is interdisciplinary and we welcome film scholars, literary scholars, clinicians and social scientists as well as filmmakers and fine artists. Dr Tyrer and myself are also editing a collection of essays to be published shortly by Routledge based on the Copenhagen Symposium and there are further publications planned. Please see the website for further details: (http://psychoanalysisinourtime.wordpress.com<http://psychoanalysisinourtime.wordpress.com/>)
Now into our second year, and following the great success of sessions in Copenhagen, Iceland and recently in at Tallinn University earlier this year, the Psychoanalysis in Our Time research circle is very pleased to announce the call for papers for our joint Summer Session with the Nordic Summer University, to take place in Druskininkai, Lithuania from 18th – 25th July 2015. The topic for this session will be “Psychoanalysis and Addiction”.
Please see the following web address for full registration details (a small number of scholarships will be available but for those you have to send the abstract in before 15th April):
We are looking for a range of proposal for papers on the subject of Psychoanalysis and Addiction – which could deal with cinema, literature, art, politics as well as the clinic. Please send an abstract (max. 300 words) and a short biographical statement to Dr Agnieszka Piotrowska (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dr Ben Tyrer (email@example.com).
The deadline for submission is 8th May 2015.
In late 1880s Freud wrote a series of papers about the effects of cocaine, suggesting the theory that the addictive seeks temporary alleviation of depression originating from conflict in the instinctual forces. In a letter to Flies, a few years later he suggested that masturbation is the primal addiction for which all other addictions are substitutes. Freud of course came to abandon his ideas of cocaine as well as other notions regarding addictions. Most theorists since Freud have kept the emphasis on drives. RD Chessick describes the addictive personality as one that “has regressed to a primitive auto-erotic apparatus that aims only to restore infantile omnipotence”. Others, such as Edward Glover, criticized the classical theory and argued addiction as an imbalance of the ego, which is caught between regressing towards psychosis and progressing towards mastering anxiety. E Lurssen, on the other hand, developed Thomas Szasz’s idea, who saw addiction as a disorder resulting from a dysfunctioning superego. He saw the addictive as an individual who creates a chemical mythology to protest against the destabilized relationship with the parents.
According to Lacan the addictive personality bypasses the Other for a direct access to jouissance. However, even though the addicted Subject rejects the Other, s/he is forever depended on an Other with whom connection is believed impossible. At the same time that s/he acts alone, s/he is constantly seeking out the collective experience, where both jouissance and the unbearable Real can be shared. (It is no wonder, then, that Therapeutic Communities are the ones with best results in treating addiction.) And recent developments, for example, in neuropsychoanalysis have sought to understand the relation between habit, reward and dopamine in terms of jouissance, as exemplified by the work of Ariane Bazan, or anxiety in Brian Johnson’s work.
In the age of neoliberalism and consumerism, we are seeing a renewed rise in certain forms of addiction: eating (anorexia, bulimia); while others are appearing as new: such as shopping, video games, excessive Internet use, etc. Although these kinds of addiction can be seen as a surrender to the drives, this specific consumerism does not necessarily exclude the importance of language. So far as this consumerism functions like a superego – as an imperative to enjoy, sustained and promoted by the market – the Subject seems to consume itself under the pressure of our time’s addictions.
As well as a clinical phenomenon, addiction is also a constant point of focus in culture and media, from Thomas de Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (an autobiography of laudanum addiction, whose drug-induced visions could make an interesting comparison piece with Freud’s Traumdeutung, for example), and Irvine Welsh and Danny Boyle’s versions of Trainspotting, to reality TV programme My Strange Addiction (an exploitative view of a variety of compulsive behaviours, many not conventionally considered “addictions”). We would therefore also be very keen to receive proposals for psychoanalytically-informed investigations of addiction in television, film and literature, and other art and media forms.
We welcome submissions for 20 minute papers from artists, academics and clinicians, and would invite different approaches to this subject from, for example, neuroscientists alongside historians, film and literature scholars and natural and social scientists with an interest in psychoanalysis.