1st Edition

Subversion and Desire Pathways to Transindividuation

By Manu Bazzano Copyright 2023
    294 Pages
    by Routledge

    294 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book presents the importance of subversion in psychotherapy and revaluates the positive role of desire as an integrating force in the individual and collective psyche.

    The text provides a solid philosophical frame which helps to expand the scope of contemporary psychotherapy at a time when it is being curtailed by a reductionist neoliberal zeitgeist. The latter emphasizes cognition over motivation, behaviour over emotion, consciousness over the unconscious, the self over the organism, and tends to reframe psychotherapeutic practice as a reprogramming of individuals. In response, this book outlines concerted acts of "soft subversion" which can undermine the status quo and open new possibilities of individual and collective transformation. The author also retraces and reassesses some of the more inspiringly subversive legacies in psychoanalysis, with a view to sketching a life-affirming psychology wedded to broadminded political engagement.

    Covering psychotherapy, politics, art and literature, and social and cultural theory, this book will appeal to anyone interested in understanding how psychotherapy and philosophy can be more radical and subversive endeavours.

      1. Player of Tender Loves  2. Counter-fantasies  3. Where it Was, the Other Shall Be  4. After Attachment Theory  5. What is the Body?  6. Power, Psyche, and Poisoned Solidarities  7. Transformer  8. Of the Devil’s Party  9. A Conspiracy of Orphans  10. Men Going Down  11. The Trauma Club  12. Therapy as Art and Praxis  13. Of Strawberries and Salty Dogs  14. Brooklyn Rimbaud  15. Help Me Become Free of You  16. I is Another  17. The Skin is faster than the Word  18. Chronic  19. Of Joyrides and Killjoys  20. As Petals from a Flower


      Manu Bazzano, PhD, is a writer, psychotherapist/supervisor, and visiting lecturer at various colleges and universities around the world. His work is informed by his lifelong practice of Zen and more recently Butoh, and by his love of art and literature. Website: www.manubazzano.com

      ‘With extraordinary rigour and imagination, Bazzano addresses key questions at the intersection of politics and psychology, from a perspective informed by both admirable philosophical erudition and a lively, direct concern with therapeutic practice. Unburdened by the liberal or conservative assumptions that weigh down so much psychological theory, this is a significant contribution both to therapeutic literature and to social and political thought.’

      Jeremy Gilbert, Professor of Cultural and Political Theory at University of East London

      ‘Manu Bazzano’s book is a revelation - not revelation as the therapeutic semblance of sanctimonious religiosity but as the tireless production of what Walter Benjamin called ‘profane illuminations’ - materialist epiphanies which are formed though his struggle with current political, therapeutic and social injustices. Bazzano derives his inspiration from orphans and exiles, authors without parents, poets without patrons, artists and philosophers without ‘tradition’. He follows them in their attempt to challenge the political, social and therapeutic fields by ruthlessly criticising and exposing all that is corrupt, conservative, and decaying in our world. He demands nothing less than our wholehearted commitment to the active, life-affirming force of desire and its emancipatory potential. For Bazzano, this commitment leads to the production of new (counter-) fantasies which will reinvigorate the transformative power of radical imagination in our fight against the forces of patriarchy, capitalism, and neoliberalism. If the battle cry of May ‘68 was to ‘see the beach beneath the street’, today’s battle cry should be to ‘see the constellation of stars beyond the clouds’ of neoliberal apathy and despair.’

      Anastasios Gaitanidis, PhD, Relational Psychoanalyst and Visiting Professor at Regent’s University London

      ‘In this stimulating and provocative work, we are invited to reject the neo-liberal orthodoxies that dominate our lives and constrain understanding of what it means to be human. Bazzano’s view- expressed through thoughtful analysis of a variety of texts and perspectives from Ovid through to modern critical thinkers such as Judith Butler- has huge implications, including for psychology, here presented as bound by a ‘myopic’ emphasis on subjectivity. This narrow focus distracts us from direct engagement with the ‘flow of neutral, inherently transformative desire’ with which we rarely engage, preferring instead to give attention to the clamour of feelings and emotions that constitute the dominant terrain of modern psychotherapy.’

      Judy Moore, Former Director of Counselling, University of East Anglia and Co-editor of Senses of Focusing

      ‘Manu Bazzano is fearlessly human and a brilliant mischief maker. His embrace of the outcast other, and what this act holds for what each of us can become, is both radical and loving. Spend time with even one page of his writing and you will be rewarded. However, a warning: If you don’t want to think or be inspired to grow or connect more fully with your own humanity, don’t buy this book.’

      Brian E. Levitt, author of Questioning Psychology: Beyond Theory and Control