‘Psychoanalysis and the GlObal’ by Ilan Kapoor


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Psychoanalysis and the GlObal is about the hole at the heart of the “glObal,” meaning the instability and indecipherability that lies at the hub of globalization. The contributors use psychoanalysis to expose the unconscious desires, excesses, and antagonisms that accompany the world of economic flows, cultural circulation, and sociopolitical change. Unlike the mainstream discourse of globalization, which most often assumes unencumbered movement across borders, these contributors uncover what Lacan calls “the Real” of the glObal—its rifts, gaps, exceptions, and contradictions.

Psychoanalysis and the GlObal adopts a psychoanalytic lens to highlight the unconscious circuits of enjoyment, racism, and anxiety that trouble, if not undermine, globalization’s economic, cultural, and environmental goals or gains. The contributors interrogate how unconscious desires and drives are externalized in our increasingly globalizing world: the ways in which traumas and emotional conflicts are integral to the disjunctures, homogeneities, and contingencies of global interactions; how social passions are manifested and materialized in political economy as much as in climate change, urban architecture, refugee and gender politics, or the growth of neo-populism; and how the unconscious serves as a basis for the rise and breakdown of popular movements against authoritarianism and neoliberal globalization. Psychoanalysis and the GlObal represents a major step forward in understanding globalization and also in extending the range and power of psychoanalytic critiques in, and of, geography.


Ilan Kapoor is a professor of environmental studies at York University. He is the author of Celebrity Humanitarianism: The Ideology of Global Charity and The Postcolonial Politics of Development.


“Psychoanalysis and the GlObal brilliantly confirms Jacques Lacan’s thesis that the unconscious is political. It not merely applies psychoanalysis to global economic and political movements; it reveals how the unconscious itself is already traversed by social and political antagonisms. For this reason alone, this edited volume by Ilan Kapoor is obligatory reading, not only for those who want to penetrate the dark underside of our social life but also for those who want to bring out the economic and political mediation of our most intimate traumas.”

—Slavoj Žižek, senior researcher, Institute for Sociology and Philosophy, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia (2018-03-05)

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