Call for chapters for an edited volume on the subject of progressive psychoanalysis

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Scott Graybow / Editor
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Call for chapters for an edited volume

Proposals are being welcomed for an edited volume tentatively entitled, "Towards a progressive psychoanalysis: Essays on psychoanalysis as a social justice movement." During the interwar era, Continental Europe was home to a generation of psychoanalysts who identified with radical political movements, advocated for progressive social causes and generally struggled to turn psychoanalysis from a clinical intervention into a genuine social movement. The volume seeks to be a repository of original essays that constitutes a thorough review of this history, provides insights into the social problems of our times, and suggests a roadmap that will guide contemporary psychoanalysis back to its former place as a social justice movement. The volume welcomes interdisciplinary perspectives from fields including, but not limited to, psychiatry, psychology, social work, history, philosophy, anthropology, and critical/cultural theory.

The volume presumes that seminal 2nd generation psychoanalysts such as Otto Fenichel, Erich Fromm, Ernst Simmel, Max Etington and Wilhelm Reich espoused a social/political psychoanalysis that was representative of a progressive worldview much different from the clinical, apolitical psychoanalysis of today. While the impact of these analysts have been studied on a case by case basis (for example, see Jacoby) and the locations at which these analysts worked have been documented (for example, see Danto), there remains a need for a volume that presents a concise account of this important period in the history of psychoanalysis and extrapolates its valuable teachings to arrive at an improved understanding of the challenges of our time. Furthermore, there exists a need for an exploration of the current state of the psychoanalytic movement and its relationship (or lack thereof) to the issues that were at the heart of the psychoanalytic worldview at the time of the famed 2nd generation.

Possible topics include:

1. The rise and fall of progressive psychoanalysis
a. The effect of the devastation of World War I on the worldview of Freud and his 2nd generation psychoanalysts and their subsequent interest in turning psychoanalysis from a mere clinical intervention into a movement with a distinct social justice purpose and mission
b. Analysis of the relationship between progressive psychoanalytic theory and practice and social forces of the era – most notably issues related to economic and social class
c. A general history of the "2ndgeneration" of psychoanalysts who dominated the field during the interwar era
d. The different ways in which progressive psychoanalysis was envisioned and put into practice during this area; A review, analysis and compare/contrast of the different political, professional and theoretical trajectories of various seminal 2ndgeneration psychoanalysts
e. The relationship between progressive psychoanalysis of the interwar era and other progressive forces of the time; The influences of these other movements on the progressive psychoanalytic thinking and work of 2nd generation psychoanalysts
f. The manner in which the progressive psychoanalysis of the interwar era understood and addressed "hot topics" such as homosexuality, abortion, anti-Semitism, etc.
g. Histories detailing the effect of the growth of fascism on specific 2ndgeneration psychoanalysts / psychoanalytic clinics
h. Differences between the psychoanalysis of the interwar era and psychoanalysis as conceptualized and practiced during the World War II years (ex the Goring Institute, impact of Nuremburg laws on the theory and practice of psychoanalysis)
i. Differences between the theory and practice of psychoanalysis in pre-war Europe and the United States; the Americanization of psychoanalysis

2. Application of the ideology/theory/worldview/insights of progressive psychoanalysis to today's pressing social problems (for each of these please utilize as a basis for the development of your argument the theoretical and clinical findings of at least one seminal 2nd generation psychoanalyst)
a. A psychoanalytic understanding of the global banking industry, the market crash of 2008 and the ongoing Crisis in Capitalism
b. A psychoanalytic understanding of neoliberalism and its tool, austerity
c. A psychoanalytic understanding of the meaning and threat behind contemporary right wing movements (for example Tea Party in the USA, Golden Dawn in Greece)
d. A psychoanalytic understanding of the murder of Daniel Brown and the subsequent Ferguson revolt
e. A psychoanalytic understanding of current armed conflicts across the globe
f. A psychoanalytic response to the arguments against psychoanalysis and in favor of short-term psychotherapies that focus on symptom alleviation
g. A psychoanalytic understanding of income inequality

3. Towards a return to a progressive psychoanalysis
a. Issues related to how today's psychoanalytic education does/does not prepare analytic candidates to produce theory and engage in clinical work/activism along the lines of psychoanalysts from the interwar era of progressive psychoanalysis
b. Exploration of the current role of the psychoanalytic clinic, its place in psychoanalytic education and the greater psychoanalytic movement, and how that current role compares/contrasts with the place of the psychoanalytic clinic of the past
c. The presence (or absence) of psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic practitioners in decisions that influence popular thought and the social direction of society
d. A psychoanalytic utopia; what the ideal psychoanalytic movement should look like and how it does/does not relate to a social justice mission
e. An analysis of the contemporary factors that hinder/encourage today's psychoanalytic movement from espousing a social justice agenda

Detailed article abstracts (300-500 words) and a brief CV should be submitted by January 15, 2015. Submissions with detailed outlines or in a draft form will be given stronger consideration. Authors will be notified as to whether their abstract has been chosen by February 1st. Chosen abstracts will be included in the prospectus, which will be submitted to the Contemporary Psychoanalytic Studies series at Brill Publishers.

Please send abstracts, CVs and direct comments/questions to the editor, Scott Graybow, L.C.S.W. at You will receive confirmation that your submission has been received.