Since 2017, prominent Lacanian psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic schools have made an explicit turn towards a politically reactionary version of liberalism. In this milieu, political party involvement is viewed with suspicion, or as pathologically symptomatic, and there is a sweeping equivalence between left and right that permits its authors to deploy terms such as ‘Islamo-gauchisme’ or ‘LePeno-Trotskyisme’. In this context, unsurprisingly, the same analysts denounce ‘wokeism’, segregation and identity politics as one of the principal evils of these troubled times.
I recently read a couple of Foucault’s later lectures, namely Security, Territory, Population (1977-1978) and The Birth of Biopolitics (1978-1979). In this latter set of lectures, Foucault made a rare foray into contemporary economics, analysing various currents of neoliberalism (especially German and US varieties) and their relation to new forms of governmentality. I thought it beneficial, if only for me, to jot down a few notes on Foucault’s reconstruction of neoliberal thought, because I think it particularly pertinent in understanding contemporary knowledge and practice in mental health. I have a paper forthcoming in an academic journal on this topic, and perhaps after this post, I can move onto other things in 2016. Continue reading →