Routledge Handbook of Psychoanalytic Political Theory  book cover
1st Edition

Routledge Handbook of Psychoanalytic Political Theory

Edited By

Yannis Stavrakakis

ISBN 9781138696310
Published September 27, 2019 by Routledge
482 Pages

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Book Description

The emerging field of ‘psychoanalytic political theory’ has now reached a stage in its development and rapid evolution that deserves to be registered, systematically defined and critically evaluated. This Handbook provides the first reference volume which showcases the current state of psychoanalytic political theory, maps the genealogy of its development, identifies its conceptual and methodological resources and highlights its analytical innovations as well as its critical promise. The Handbook consists of 35 chapters offering original, comprehensive and critical reviews of this field of study. The chapters are divided into five thematic sections:

  • Figures discusses the work of major psychoanalytic theorists who have influenced considerably the development of psychoanalytic political theory.
  • Traditions genealogically recounts and critically reassesses the many attempts throughout the 20th century of experimenting with the articulation between psychoanalysis and political theory in a consistent way.
  • Concepts asks what are the concepts that psychoanalysis offers for appropriation by political theory.
  • Themes presents concrete examples of the ways in which psychoanalytic political theory can be productively applied in the analysis of racism, gender, nationalism, consumerism, etc.
  • Challenges/Controversies captures the ways in which psychoanalytic political theory can lead the way towards theoretical and analytical innovation in many disciplinary fields dealing with cutting-edge issues.

The Routledge Handbook of Psychoanalytic Political Theory will serve as scholarly reference volume for all students and researchers studying political theory, psychoanalysis, and the history of ideas.

Table of Contents


Yannis Stavrakakis


1. Sigmund Freud

Stephen Frosh

2. Melanie Klein

R. D. Hinshelwood

3. Jacques Lacan

Domiek Hoens

4. Wilhelm Reich

Christopher Turner

5. Carl Jung

Peter T. Dunlap


6. Marcuse and the Freudian Left

Douglas Kellner

7. The Lacanian Left

Sean Homer

8. Psychoanalytic Feminism

Lisa Baraitser

9. Critical Management Studies

Alessia Contu


10. Superego and the Law

Todd McGowan

11. (Liberal) Narcissism

Bob Samuels

12. Affect and Emotion

Candida Yates

13. Trauma

Marshal Alcorn

14. Fantasy

Matthew Sharpe and Kirk Turner

15. Identification (With the Aggressor)

Jay Frankel

16. Mourning and Melancholia

Claudia Lapping

17. Language and Discourse

Ed Pluth

18. Collective Subjects

Campbell Jones


19. Sexuality

Eran Dorfman

20. Hate

C. Fred Alford

21. Racism

Derek Hook

22. Nationalism

Amanda Machin

23. Capitalism

Samo Tomsic

24. Consumerism and Choice

Renata Salecl

25. Religion and Islamic Radicalization

Andrea Mura

26. Populism

Paula Biglieri and Gloria Perello

27. Arts

Cecilia Sjoholm


28. Psychoanalytic Geopolitics

Dany Nobus

29. Psy Ethics

Ian Parker

30. Neoliberalism

Valerie Walkerdine

31. Migration and Diversity

Nikolay Mintchev and Hernrietta Moore

32. Biopolitics

A. Kiarina Kordela

33. The Climate Crisis

Sally Weintrobe

34. Post-politics

Olivier Jutel

35. Posthuman Identities

Anthony Elliott

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Yannis Stavrakakis studied political science in Athens and Essex. He has worked at the Universities of Essex and Nottingham before taking up a position at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in 2006. His research focuses primarily on contemporary political theory (with emphasis on psychoanalytic and post-structuralist approaches) and on the analysis of ideology and discourse in late modern societies (with emphasis on populism, environmentalism, post-democracy and the role of artistic practices).

Editorial Board: Stephen Frosh, Lynne Layton, and Dany Nobus


"The Routledge Handbook of Psychoanalytic Political Theory introduces the reader into a new but rapidly growing field in the social sciences. It provides key texts by well known scholars on the ways in which psychoanalytic theory and practice have an impact on the political order. The editor Yannis Stavrakakis provides an illuminating and extensive introduction which explains the general organization and the basic themes and controversies. There is no doubt that the book will be a vital tool for those who want to explore and develop further the variety of theoretical/conceptual frameworks that the volume provides. It will also be useful to researchers who want to study empirically the influence of psychoanalytic approaches to themes and controversies in the areas of feminism, nationalism, consumerism, populism, etc."

Nicos Mouzelis, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, London School of Economics, UK

"Far from simply serviceable and convenient, this Routledge Handbook of Psychoanalytic Political Theory is handy in the robust, Chaucerian sense. Intellectually challenging and urgent, it explains the crucial, updated psychoanalytical concepts now impacting political theory, while providing a clear account of the various ways in which psychoanalysis and political theory related to each other previously. While the interventions of Freud and Lacan are, rightly, privileged, other formidable psychoanalytic figures also receive fresh attention. This is a volume that will be treasured."

Joan Copjec, Professor of Modern Culture and Media, Brown University, USA

"A must-read Handbook featuring a mix of established, mid- and early-career scholars working at the crossroads of psychoanalytic thought and socio-political theory. Covering an impressive range of themes, concepts, and issues, Stavrakakis and his team have assembled timely contributions that demonstrate the enduringly dynamic and productive interplay between these disciplines. Surely a work of reference for years to come!"

Jason Glynos, Professor of Political Theory, University of Essex, UK

"While we may be at a particular bleak moment in time, the Routledge Handbook of Psychoanalytic Political Theory provides an important and foundational volume for scholars, students and activists who wish to understand and apply the different concepts and debates that different schools within psychoanalysis can offer. The thought that psychoanalysis is alive and well in some political scholarship may perhaps provide us with some joy and hope."


"[W]hat is remarkable, and indeed distinctive, about this collection, is that it carves out a space for psychoanalytic political theory as a specific orientation in political studies. This is a thought provoking, and, as I will suggest, significant endeavour for any theorist dissatisfied with the many iterations of liberal political theory."

Contemporary Political Theory