Debt society - interrogation the psychosocial

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29 October 2014

Time: 5:00pm
Venue: David Sizer Lecture Theatre, Bancroft Building, Mile End Campus, Queen Mary University of London

Discussant: Prof Dany Nobus (Brunel University)

Chair: Lasse Thomassen (QMUL)

The ongoing economic crisis in Europe and beyond is usually discussed in more or less technocratic ways. Instead of illuminating what is at stake in it, such a narrow approach rather obscures understanding and limits the scope of meaningful intervention. A psychosocial approach, on the contrary, may be able to contribute to a more reflexive exploration of both the discursive and affective implications of the crisis; of how subjectivity and collective identification are re-shaped and manipulated in Debt Society.

It can also illuminate the technologies of domination utilized in the management of the crisis: do they signify a deepening of the post-democratic mutation of democratic institutions? Are they indicative of a shift from a hegemonic to a post-hegemonic universe in which power acquires a predominantly biopolitical function?

The current political management of the debt crisis seems to involve a continuous dialectic between subjectivity and the social bond mediated by a cruel superego that slowly creates a new Europe. This new Europe is torn between a despotic, oligarchic trend emanating from the centre and pushing forward an unprecedented austerity avalanche, on the one hand, and peripheral resistances that often flirt with national(ist) withdrawal or extreme right-wing and even neo-Nazi acting-outs.

Focusing on the experience of the European South can undoubtedly help us register the ensuing explosive choreography and assess the prospects for European democracy.


This event is free to attend. No booking required