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Robert Rauschenberg
Port of Entry [Anagram (A Pun)]

The Act of the Analyst: Psychoanalysis and Political Activism

How do psychoanalytic practice and activism confront, engender, interact with, and/or de-stabilize one another? Is there an alternative to regnant constructions of psychoanalysis, which would insist upon the figure of the analyst as a neutral, detached observer who remains on the sidelines of “the political”? Might the training of psychoanalysts include discussion of how the social order can fall into unwitting enactments of a new obscene underbelly when its predecessor has been overthrown or otherwise put into check? What are the similarities here with the clinic’s imaginary and social orders, and the discourses of the Master and slave, or the Master and the hysteric? How might the discourses, the ethics, and the desire of the analyst be restored to any institution that has lost its way again in its effort to avoid the “lack of guarantee,” that is, the avoidance of accounting for and transforming this disruptive experience, this traumatic encounter? And how might such a transformation of trauma be akin to the analysand’s traversal of symbolic castration and the end of analysis? And lastly, might any individual analysand’s tendency to fall momentarily back into his or her symptom, be akin to the social order’s movement back into the defensive space of a new Master along with its dialectical other, the position of the hysteric, as Hilda Fernande-Alvarez addresses in her paper, “So, you want a Master?: Psychoanalytic Considerations on the Responsibility of the Intellectual in Light of Traumatic Repetition,” in Spectres of Fascism?


We propose to engage immediate political, civilizational, and individual questions and theoretical constructs in such a way as to ask, “What is the act of the analyst” in both clinical and political domains? What constitutes the end of analysis and the formation of the analyst? How might these be construed to cross over the divide between psychoanalysis, on the one hand, and social and environmental criticism and activism on the other? What causes the resistance, what constitutes the trauma of the individual and of the institution in the face of the lack of guarantee?

We will explore crucial and immediate questions, especially those relating to threats of civilizational and biospheric collapse.

What constitutes democracy? Is humanity capable of it? 

Requirements: some desire to work on this with a few others.  And a commitment to closely read selected papers. The purchase of several books will be necessary.


Jacques Lacan’s Seminar XV: The Psychoanalytic Act.

Cornelius Castoriadis’s (1997) World in Fragments: Writings on Politics, Society, Psychoanalysis and the Imagination.

Hilda Fernandez-Alvarez’s “So you want a Master? Psychoanalytic considerations on the intellectual's responsibility in the face of traumatic repetition,” in Spectres of Fascism.

Joseph Scalia III’s “Imminent Demises of Civilization and the Biosphere and Rejoinder of the Act(ivism) of the Analyst,” (in submission to Lamella). 


Joseph Scalia III’s (2022) “Combined book review of Clint Burnham and Paul Kingsbury’s (Eds.) Lacan and the Environment and of Sally Weintrobe’s "Psychological Roots of the Climate Crisis: Neoliberalism and the Culture of Uncare," in Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society, accessible at

------------------------ “Trophy Hunting, Trapping Needs a Fearless Oppostion” in Missoula Current 20 March 2023

Ian Parker and David Pavon-Cuellar’s Psychoanalysis and Revolution

Trauma, Ethics and the Political Beyond PTSD: The Dislocations of the Real, by Gregory Bistoen.

Felix Guattari’s The Three Ecologies

-------------------  Soft Subversions: Texts and Interviews 1977-1985

Faculty: Joseph Scalia III, Psya.D.

Dates and Times: September 2023 to mid-May 2024: Every other Friday, starting September 15, 2023 at 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM Pacific Time

Location: Online via Zoom

Fee: $100 or School Tuition

Contact: Dr. Scalia at

Joseph Scalia III, Psya.D. is an Analyst of the School of LSP and a psychoanalyst in private practice. For the last four years now, he has been deeply engaged in ever more militant environmental activism, bringing a savoir gained from the clinic and, more recently, exploring how the sociopolitical can inform the clinic.

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