Coronavirus, Psychoanalysis, and Philosophy
Conversations on Pandemics, Politics and Society
Originally published in the European Journal of Psychoanalysis (EJP), the essays in this volume are a set of responses to the coronavirus crisis by distinguished philosophers and psychoanalysts from around the globe.
The coronavirus irrupted making swift and deep cuts in the fabric of our existence: the risks of contagion and indefinite periods of isolation have radically altered the functioning of society. Pandemics do not wait for comprehension in order to proliferate. Confusion, sickness, and death punctuate the failure of governments worldwide to respond. This collection of writings examines the effects of the pandemic and the conditions that make possible such a global crisis. The writers provoke us to consider how capitalism, governmental power, and biopolitics mold the contours of life and death. The contributors in this collection ignite urgent political dialogue, address emergent transformations in the social field and offer perspectives on shifts in subjectivity and psychoanalytic practice. Beyond providing reflections on the impact of the coronavirus, the authors point to determinants of how the crisis will unfold and what may be on the horizon.
This book will be invaluable to psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, philosophers, and to all those interested in the implications of the virus for psychoanalytic practice and theory, and the social, cultural and political spheres of our world.
Table of Contents
Part I - Philosophers Speak: 1. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison [an excerpt] Michele Foucault 2. A Viral Exception Jean-Luc Nancy 3. Cured to the Bitter End Roberto Esposito 4. Riposte to Roberto Esposito Jean-Luc Nancy 5. The Community of the Forsaken: A Response to Agamben and Nancy Divya Dwivedi and Shaj Mohan 6. The Virtues of the Virus Rocco Ronchi 7.The Threat of Contagion Massimo De Carolis 8. What Carries Us On Shaj Mohan 9. The Obscure Experience Shaj Mohan 10. Agamben, the Virus, and the Biopolitical: A Riposte Zsuzsa Baross 11. A Much Too Human Virus Jean-Luc Nancy 12. The Return of Antigone: Burial Rites in Pandemic Times 13. Néstor Braunstein Part II - Philosophers Act: 13. One Health and One Home: On the Biopolitics of Covid-19 Miguel Vatter 14. The Italian Laboratory – Rethinking Debt in Viral Times Elettra Stimilli 15. Vitam Instituere Roberto Esposito 16. Communovirus Jean-Luc Nancy 17. The Satanization of Man. The Pandemic and the Wound of Narcissism Sergio Benvenuto 18. A Viral Revaluation of All Values? Dany Nobus 19. Humanity is Rediscovering Existential Solitude, the Meaning of Limits, and Mortality Julia Kristeva 20. A Flight Indestinate Divya Dwivedi Part III - Psychoanalysts Speak: 21. Psychoanalysis Too, Will Never Be the Same Néstor Braunstein 22. Politics of the Letter (27) Screened Speech is the Foreclosure the Littoral of the Letter René Lew 23. Hestiation. Our Life After Coronavirus Sergio Benvenuto 24. The Virus and the Unconscious. Diary From the Quarantine Sergio Benvenuto 25. Talking Cure by Phone During the Lockdown Monique Lauret 26. The Truth About Coronavirus Duane Rousselle
Fernando Castrillón, Psy.D., Editor in Chief of the European Journal of Psychoanalysis, is a personal and supervising psychoanalyst, professor in the Community Mental Health Program at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), and a member of the Istituto Elvio Fachinelli ISAP (Institute of Advanced Studies in Psychoanalysis) based in Rome, Italy. He is the author of a book and numerous articles in both Spanish and English.
Thomas Marchevsky, Ph.D., is an editor of the European Journal of Psychoanalysis, has a psychoanalytic practice in San Francisco, California. He is Clinical Director of The Clinic Without Walls and an adjunct faculty member at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS).
"There are weeks when decades happen," Lenin said about the Russian revolution. More than a century later, this collection of essays written by today’s finest thinkers, reports from within the trenches of the coronavirus crisis, speaking with urgency and fierce immediacy. Avoid this book like the plague if you wish to ignore our fundamental precariousness. Bristling with electric truth, this collection will offer another chance, new antibodies, a biobank for the future."
--Patricia Gherovici, Psychoanalyst and author of Transgender Psychoanalysis
"The impossible has happened! Capitalism has been brought to heel by the force of a pandemic. What new thought does the virus make possible? What has the pandemic touched in all of us? As the philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy reflects: "Does this mean we are in a better position to reflect on this community? The problem is that the virus is still its main representative; that between the surveillance model and the welfare model, only the virus remains as a common property." And yet, this is collection of essays testifies to beginning to think together at the place of the virus, showing how it exposes the imbrication of politics and life, and the ever present denial of death that guides our violent compulsion to repeat. In a moment where life and death are being weighed anew, we need these public intellectuals more than ever."
-Jamieson Webster, Ph.D., psychoanalyst, author, Professor at The New School
"Coronavirus has occasioned an outpouring of theoretical speculation. It has produced intellectual whiplash as it prompts conservatives to sound like leftists and leftists to echo conservative talking points. Here is a collection that will allow us to keep track of where everyone stands. Coronavirus, Psychoanalysis, and Philosophy collects work from our most important theorists on the outbreak and puts them in dialogue with each other and with the most important thinkers from the past. The result is an absolute necessity for anyone hoping to gain a sense of where we stand today."
--Todd McGowan, Ph.D., author and Professor at University of Vermont
"Covid-19 has undoubtedly been the phenomenon of our time - in the true sense of the phenomenal; it figures uniquely for all who encounter it and what we encounter when we encounter it is never a thing in itself, but is always overdetermined through the lens of science, of the social, the political, the medical, the conspiratorial. This exceptional collection of interactive essays captures this phenomenal moment in all its complexity, opening up the key question, which is not, what is covid-19? but is rather, what do we do with the multifaceted experience that is covid-19?"
--Dr Calum Neill, Associate Professor of Psychoanalysis and Cultural Theory, Edinburgh Napier University.
"(This book) addresses this event in terms of the political, social, philosophical and psychological implications. The papers vary in length from 1 to 6 pages and the book is split up into 3 fairly distinct parts, though there is some overlap and several of the same contributors’ varied essays appear in different sections."
--Sarah McMichael, Psychodynamic Practice