Inspired by Freud’s The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, this book examines the unconscious processes shaping contemporary political ideologies.
Addressing ten fundamental questions, Robert Samuels identifies four basic political ideologies: liberal, conservative, Left, and Right, which are often placed in the structure of a logical square, determined by two binary oppositions, with a fifth structure of centrism complicating the square. He turns to psychoanalysis to explain the unconscious defense mechanisms that structure these political ideologies. Each chapter uses a recent, influential title as a gateway to the analysis of the ideologies and structures identified. Through this analysis, Samuels argues that belief in ideological structures is tied to triumvirates of institutions and ideals; conservatives being tied to premodern institutions of religion, feudalism, and monarchy, while modern liberals are tied to ideals of universality, objectivity, and empiricism. He concludes that this investment in universality shapes the ethics of modern globalization and democratic liberalism. Unlike other books, conclusions are reinforced through examples drawn from current events with an integrated model of different psychopathologies.
The Psychopathology of Political Ideologies moves beyond providing an understanding of what drives different political investments, to offer a more rational and conscious comprehension of subjectivity and social organization. This book will be a great resource for those interested in politics, political science psychology, social psychology, globalization, and ideology.
Table of Contents
2. Jonathan Haidt and the Five Political Ideologies
3. On the Psychopathology of Polarization
4. Understanding the Psychopathology of the Right
5. The Hysterical Left and the Narcissistic Center
6. The Anti-Ideology Ideology: Re-Discovering the Enlightenment
Robert Samuels is a lecturer of writing at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of numerous books, including Teaching Writing, Rhetoric, and Reason at the Globalizing University (2021).