Psychoanalysis, Money & the Economy Conference, London, 2-4 July, 2010

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Freud Museum

Psychoanalysis, Money and the Economy International Conference, London, 2-4 July, 2010 —— a conference convened for the London Freud Museum by David Bennett (University of Melbourne) with Ivan Ward (Freud Museum), with the support of Birkbeck College, the London Consortium and the Australian Research Council


Freud once warned his fellow analysts that there are two subjects that "civilized people" will always treat "with the same inconsistency, prudishness and hypocrisy" but about which psychoanalysts must insist on speaking with "the same matter-of-fact frankness", namely: "money matters" and "sexual matters". Yet the psychoanalytic profession has often followed Freud's own example in decoding "money matters" as symbolic displacements of "sexual matters". What would speaking "frankly" about money and psychoanalysis entail, not least during the current "global financial crisis"? This conference, and the volume of essays that will result from it, aims to explore all aspects of the nexus between psychoanalysis, money and the economy, including, but not limited to:

• psychoanalytic interpretations of economic behaviour, including the psychology of compulsive spending and saving, financial risk-taking and gambling, stock-market booms and busts, the 'highs' and 'depressions' of economies, financial traders and investors

• the roles of money and economic models in psychoanalytic theory and case histories

• the history of attempts to fuse psychoanalytic with economic explanations of social and cultural processes, as in the Freudo-Marxist tradition and its critiques of liberal economics' theories of Homo oeconomicus, or as in Keynes's recourse to psychoanalysis to explain the 'irrationality' of money-hoarding

• the roles of money and class in the analyst–analysand relationship, the psychotherapeutic encounter, and in analysands' narratives

• psychoanalytic interpretations of monetary transactions and relationships in fiction, film and fantasy

• histories, theories and practices of libidinal economy, including sexual-economic revolutionary theories and movements

• how psychoanalysis as a profession, an institution, and a body of theory is articulated wth specific economic conditions and trends, whether regionally, nationally or internationally

The conference will include a number of invited keynote speakers (see below) but there will also be opportunities for unsolicited papers to be presented either at the conference or in a series of lectures and workshops to be held at the Freud Museum in the days leading up to the conference. Proposals for 20-minute papers or 60-min. workshops on any aspect of the conference theme will be welcome; they should include an explanatory title and a 600-word abstract, and should be sent simultaneously to David Bennett and Ivan Ward as soon as possible and not later than 30 October, 2009. Proposals will be refereed and outcomes communicated by 15 December, 2009. Papers must not be previously published and must be available for publication in the planned conference book.

To receive details of the registration procedure when they become available, please e-mail Ivan Ward and ask to be included in the conference mailing-list.

Confirmed speakers, to date, include: Etienne Balibar (Univ. Paris X-Nanterre), Zygmunt Bauman (Univ. of Leeds), David Bennett (Univ. of Melbourne), Claire Colebrook (Penn State Univ.), Stephen Frosh (Birkbeck, Univ. of London), Bruce Fink (Duquesne Univ.), Jean-Joseph Goux (Rice Univ.), Viktor Mazin (St Petersburg Univ.), Susie Orbach (London), Andrew Samuels (Univ. of Essex), Bernard Stiegler (Pompidou Centre and Goldsmiths, Univ. of London). Gillian Tett (Financial Times) and Vincent Cable (Shadow Chancellor, Liberal Democrats, House of Commons) have also agreed in principle to present papers.
Invited but as-yet-unconfirmed speakers include: Rachel Bowlby, Laura Mulvey, Eric Santner and Slavoj Zizek. The pre-conference programme will include a workshop convened by Andrew Samuels on the theme: "What kind of economic system do we want? – an exploration with psychoanalysis and psychotherapy in mind". Pre-conference events will be held at the Freud Museum, Hampstead, and the conference venue will be Birkbeck College, Bloomsbury.