Towards a Political Psychology


Critical psychology
Jacques Lacan
Wilhelm Reich
Louis Althusser
Sigmund Freud


In this paper, the authors inquire into whether psychoanalysis has the potential to traverse the social and economic determinants that organise the conditions for and situation of the individual. Through historical excavation of the roots of psy-systems and the wider psy-complex, the authors alight at crucial junctures in which radical routes were opened up, and that have been subsequently either ill-taken, snuffed out, or—on occasion—followed; it is the potentialities in these that the authors return to, and set out the beginnings of a theoretical heuristic towards in the latter part of the essay. Through interlocution primarily with the radical communist writings of the earlyWilhelm Reich, and the rigorous psychoanalytic formalisation of Jacques Lacan, the authors aim to return to Reich’s concept of a ‘political psychology’, that takes psychosocial structure seriously. From this point, they set out some of its coordinates, against the dictates of diagnostic and statistical administration, the deflections and disenfranchisements of neoliberal responsibilisation, and the capitalistically motivated injunctions of the happiness and wellness industries.

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