1st Edition

Inhabiting Implication in Racial Oppression and in Relational Psychoanalysis

Edited By Rachel Kabasakalian-McKay, David Mark Copyright 2023
    282 Pages
    by Routledge

    282 Pages
    by Routledge

    What does it feel like to encounter ourselves and one another as implicated subjects, both in our everyday lives and in the context of our work as clinicians, and how does this matter?

    With contributions from a diverse group of relational psychoanalytic thinkers, this book reads Michael Rothberg’s concept of the implicated subjectthe notion that we are continuously implicated in injustices even when not perpetratorsas calling us to elaborate what it feels like to inhabit such subjectivities in relation to others both similarly and differently situated. Implication and anti-Black racism are central to many chapters, with attention given to the unique vulnerability of racial minority immigrants, to Native American genocide, and to the implication of ordinary Israelis in the oppression of Palestinians. The book makes the case that the therapist’s ongoing openness to learning of our own implication in enactments is central to a relational sensibility and to a progressive psychoanalysis.

    As a contribution to the necessary and long-overdue conversation within the psychoanalytic field about racism, social injustice, and ways to move toward a just society, this book will be essential for all relational psychoanalysts and psychotherapists.

    1. Introduction: Engaging Implicated Subjects

    Rachel Kabasakalian-McKay and David Mark

    2. Getting Next to Ourselves: The Interpersonal Dimensions of Double-Consciousness 

    Michelle Stephens 

    3. Recognition in the Face of Harm: Implicated Subjectivity and the Necessity of Acknowledgement

    Jessica Benjamin 

    4. He's My Brother 

    Cynthia Chalker

    5. Psychoanalytic Spaces, Implicated Places

    Carnella Gordon-Brown, Natasha Holmes, Beth Kita and Lynne Layton 

    6. The Other Within: White Shame, Native-American Genocide 

    Sue Grand 

    7. Don't Blame The Mirror For Your Ugly Face (A Russian Idiom

    Ofra Bloch 

    8. The Complexity of Implication for Racial Minority Immigrants 

    Pratyusha Tummala-Narra 

    9. The Relational Citizen as Implicated Subject: Emergent Unconscious Processes in the Psychoanalytic Community Collaboratory 

    Billie A. Pivnick and Jane A. Hassinger

    10. Awakening to the Political - Or is it All an Undream? 

    Matt Aibel 

    11. Parental Implication and the Expansion of the Child Relational Therapist's Clinical Imagination 

    Laurel Moldawsky Silber

    12. Implication as Central to a Relational Stance: Vulnerability, Responsibility and Racial Enactment

    Rachel Kabasakalian-McKay and David Mark


    Rachel Kabasakalian-McKay (she/her) is a founding board member and the co-director of the Institute for Relational Psychoanalysis of Philadelphia and is on the faculty of the Stephen Mitchell Relational Study Center in New York. Her work has appeared in Psychoanalytic Dialogues, Psychoanalytic Inquiry, and Psychoanalytic Perspectives.

    David Mark is co-director of the Institute for Relational Psychoanalysis of Philadelphia. With Jeffrey Faude, he is the author of Psychotherapy of Cocaine Addiction: Entering the Interpersonal World of the Cocaine Addict (1997). Other works of his have appeared in Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Psychoanalytic Dialogues, and Psychoanalytic Perspectives.

    'As our discipline undertakes the collective responsibility imposed upon it by its method - what good are we as analysts if we cannot face ourselves? - we could have no finer accompaniment than this volume. Braiding personal reflection (some searing), theoretical elaboration, clinical work and social activism, the text becomes a place where we meet ourselves beyond the facile comforts of binary thinking. If this book leads more deeply into the knotty racial labyrinths of our historically shadowed present, it is in the belief that there is no way out but through. Psychoanalysis needs such tools for staying with the good trouble it is in.'

    Francisco J. González, personal and supervising analyst, co-chair of Community Psychoanalysis Track, Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California; staff psychiatrist, Instituto Familiar de la Raza

    'This is a book for our moment. Rachel Kabasakalian-McKay and David Mark and their colleagues have put together a collection of essays that are deeply and sensitively engaged with the myriad crises that define us - especially the crisis of racism, in the context of contemporary relational psychoanalysis. While diverse in their perspectives, the essays are united in taking up both socio-political injustices and intimate psychic dynamics: they powerfully combine emotional vulnerability and theoretical savvy. Whether focused on geopolitical conflicts or familial trauma, structural racism or the structures of educational and psychoanalytic institutions, this book helps us understand what it feels like to live in - and think through - complex forms of personal and political responsibility.'

    Michael Rothberg, author of The Implicated Subject: Beyond Victims and Perpetrators

    'This is a powerful and exceptional collection of essays and articles that the editors, Rachel Kabasakalian-McKay and David Mark, have astutely assembled and one that I highly recommend. In inviting their authors to address and integrate Michael Rothberg's lens of the 'implicated subject and complex implication' they have assembled what will be an indispensable text for the field, both for training in psychoanalysis and for clinicians before and after their training. These authors, who write from a myriad of subject positions, advance how the social, historical/political, racial, cultural, class/caste, and genders/sexualities necessarily can and must be fully integrated into psychoanalytic theories and praxis. These writers offer compelling examples and experiences that prove that no one is outside of regimes of oppression and privilege, and neither is psychoanalysis nor the training institutes. After reading each chapter I am left with immense gratitude for the deep and thoughtful work that has been done and inspired to make sure this work continues.'

    Jill Salberg, faculty and supervisor at the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis