'Thinking with Psychoanalysis' Conversation Series

Hosted in various private residences and institutions, the series aims to develop new conceptual tools through a psychoanalytically oriented social psychology to re-describe social problems in Australia such as alienation and plastic surgery, desensitization in a culture oversaturated with sexual imagery, virtual social life in social media, racism, sexism, religious fundamentalism etc. The goal is to come up with more plausible ways of describing and thinking about social ills and to broaden the appeal of psychoanalysis in the Australian context. The meetings present an interview, either in person or via videoconference, with a local or international guest, followed by a group discussion.

Psyche + Society thanks David Macarthur, Inja Stracenski and John Hickson for their invaluable help in the organisation of the series.




Last event

Truth, Bullshit and Donald Trump with Russell Grigg + David Macarthur.
When: 6.30pm to 8.00pm, Friday December 8, 2017
Sponsored by:
Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University.

School of Arts and Education at Deakin University.



Russell Grigg practices psychoanalysis in Melbourne where he taught philosophy and psychoanalysis at Deakin University for many years. Among his publications on psychoanalysis is his book Lacan, Language and Philosophy (SUNY, 2008). He is the translator of a number of Lacan’s seminars, most recently of The Formations of the Unconscious (Polity, 2017). He is a founding member of the Ecole de la Cause Freudienne, the New Lacanian School, the World Association of Psychoanalysis and the Lacan Circle of Melbourne.



David Macarthur is an Associate Professor in the Philosophy Department at the University of Sydney. He has published articles on liberal naturalism, metaphysical quietism, external world skepticism, common sense, perception, ordinary language, and philosophy of art especially concerning architecture, photography and film. He has co-edited three collections of papers with Mario De Caro (Roma Tré):Naturalism in Question (Harvard, 2004); Naturalism and Normativity (Columbia, 2010); and Philosophy in an Age of Science: Physics, Mathematics and Skepticism(Harvard, 2012); and recently edited Hilary & Ruth-Anna Putnam, Pragmatism as a Way of Life: The Lasting Legacy of William James and John Dewey (Harvard, 2017).

Recent events

On Torture with Justin Clemens.
When: Friday October 6, 2017
Sponsored by:
Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University.

School of Arts and Education at Deakin University.



Justin Clemens is the author of many books, including Psychoanalysis is an Antiphilosophy (Edinburgh UP 2013), Minimal Domination (Surpllus 2011) and, with A.J. Bartlett and Jon Roffe, Lacan Deleuze Badiou (Edinburgh UP 2014). With A.J. Bartlett, he has co-edited many scholarly anthologies, including most recently What is Education? (Edinburgh UP 2017). He is currently the recipient of an ARC Future Fellow award, working on ‘Australian Poetry Today.’ He is an Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne.



The Psychology + Ethics of Justice with Raimond Gaita.
Where: The Benledi House, Glebe
When: Friday July 28, 2017
Sponsored by Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University.



Raimond Gaita is Emeritus Professor of Moral Philosophy at King’s College London and a fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. He is the author of many books and articles, including A Common Humanity: Thinking about Love and Truth and Justice, Good and Evil: an Absolute Conception, and the award-winning non-fiction Romulus, My Father.



Conversation with Joanne Faulkner about the Australian unconscious and (post) colonial past.
Where: The Benledi House, Glebe
When: Friday 2 December, 2016



Joanne Faulkner is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy and Women's & Gender Studies at the University of NSW. Her most recent book is Young and Free: [Post] colonial Ontologies of Childhood, Memory and History in Australia (Rowman & Littlefield International, 2016). It examines the colonial imaginary in Australia through the persistent trope of lost, stolen, damaged and displaced childhood. She is also the author of Dead Letters to Nietzsche: Or the Necromantic Art of Reading Philosophy (Ohio UP, 2010), and The Importance of Being Innocent: Why We Worry About Children (Cambridge UP, 2011), and co-author (with Matthew Sharpe) of Understanding Psychoanalysis (Acumen, 2008).

Last year we heard Marcia Langton say in a Psyche + Society event about indigenous recognition that without recognition, Aborigines feel that they do not exist. But the recognition of others begins with identifying the sources of its deficiency, it begins by recognizing ourselves and the fantasies that colonial Australians project onto Aborigines. In this event we will hear Joanne Faulkner embark on the courageous task of understanding the (post) colonial relation to Aborigines in Australia, through the use of psychoanalytic concepts.

+ Click here for details about Joanne's book, Young and Free


Previous events

Conversation with Jim Hopkins on Racism and Group Psychology.
Where: Glebe Justice Centre
When: Saturday 7 May, 2016



Jim Hopkins is Reader Emeritus in Philosophy at King’s College and Visiting Professor in the Psychoanalysis Unit of the Research Department of Clinical and Health Psychology at University College London. He was Kohut Visiting Professor of Social Thought at the University of Chicago for 2008. His main work has been on psychoanalysis, consciousness, Wittgenstein, and interpretation.



Neville Symington meets Jonathan Lear
Where: Sydney College of the Arts
When: 12 December, 2015



Jonathan Lear is professor of philosophy at the University of Chicago and a psychoanalyst in private practice. He is the Director of the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society at the University of Chicago, and is on the faculties of the Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute and the Western New England Institute for Psychoanalysis. His books include: Aristotle and Logical Theory; Aristotle: The Desire to Understand; Love and Its Place in Nature: A Philosophical Interpretation of Freudian Psychoanalysis; Therapeutic Action: An Earnest Plea for Irony; Happiness, Death and the Remainder of Life; Freud, and Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation.




Neville Symington is a psychoanalyst in private practice in Sydney, Australia. He did his psychoanalytic training in London and is a Fellow of the British Psycho-Analytical Society. His books include The Analytic Experience, Emotion and Spirit, Narcissism: A New Theory, The Making of a Psychotherapist, The Spirit of Sanity, A Pattern of Madness, How to Choose a Psychotherapist, The Blind Man Sees, A Healing Conversation, Becoming a Person through Psycho-Analysis and The Psychology of the Person, and the co-authored (with Joan Symington) The Clinical Thinking of Wilfred Bion. He also published the novel A Priest’s Affair and a book of poetry In-Gratitude and Other Poems. In 2007 he started a clinical organization called Psychotherapy with Psychotic Patients (PPP).



Conversation with Alenka Zupančič on Social Practices of Lying.
Thanks to the Philosophy Department, University of Sydney for hosting this event.
27 June, 2015

Alenka Zupancic



Conversation with Lynne Layton on Social Inequalities and Normative Unconscious Processes.
Thanks to Damien Freeman for hosting this event.
21 March, 2015

Lynee Layton



Conversation with Russell Grigg on Religious Fundamentalism.
Thanks to Ange Wayne for hosting this event.
11 October, 2014

Russell Grigg


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