Psychic and Political Dimensions of Citizenship in a Time of Democratic Crisis
Presenter: Bettina von Lieres, D.Phil.
with discussant Chris Trevelyan, MSW, RSW
About this Presentation:
The world has changed dramatically in the past few years. A global pandemic, the war in the Ukraine, a resurgence in populist and authoritarian governments, attacks on election results and growing global economic inequality are all well-documented trends that some have called “democracy in retreat”. Together these political developments have produced a crisis of citizenship and political belonging for many people. Distrust of political institutions and fellow citizens has deepened in many parts of the world. At the same time brave people across the world continue to protest publicly against abuses of democracy. In this paper I explore three cases of people whose lives are directly affected by a growing disregard for citizens’ rights. I describe how external political events have shaped their own sense of agency. I use these cases to argue for inter-disciplinary collaboration between psychoanalysts and social scientists. How might psychoanalysis help social scientists broaden their understanding of the psychic experiences of citizenship? And how might psychoanalysis benefit from a dialogue with social scientists about the political dimensions of citizenship?
About the Speaker and Discussant:
Dr. Bettina von Lieres is Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, in the Department of Global Development Studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough. She teaches undergraduate courses on citizenship and community development. She is a co-investigator in a 2022 global research program entitled “Building Back Better from Below: Harnessing Innovations in Community Response and Intersectoral Collaboration for Health and Food Justice Beyond the Covid-19 Pandemic”. Her recent publications include a co-edited journal article entitled “Strengthening democracy through knowledge mobilization: Participedia – a citizen-led global platform for transformative and democratic learning”. She is a recent graduate of the TICP’s 4-year program (academic stream).
Chris Trevelyan, MSW, RSW, is a senior psychoanalytic candidate at the TICP, and is in full-time private practice in Toronto.
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