The SITE for Contemporary Psychoanalysis 2015 Spring Conference

On Conflict

What does a contemporary psychoanalysis have to say about conflict? Is there anything new to add about that which is at the heart of all the stories psychoanalysis wants to tell?

Conflict is a foundational concept in psychoanalysis, not merely because of the supposed conflict that is at the heart of every neurosis, but because it is always already established in the split between the conscious and the unconscious. Psychoanalysis is littered with such dichotomous opposition: the good and bad breast, the internal and the external, the imaginary and the symbolic, the father and the son. A relentless conflict between what we want and what we’re supposed to want.

Where there is conflict, there is repression. At least that’s how Freud, after his ‘second topography’, thought of it. Conflict has a causal relationship to repression—it provides a reason, that is, for repression to be called upon. But what might be repressed in conflicts affecting not just individuals, but organisations, governments, the global and the local? And what is repressed in order for a conflict to change, for it to be averted or dampened down—resolved, even? What would be lost in this change? We ask:

What are conflicts used for?

What might a dialectic of conflict be?

How can individuals or groups bear the inherent losses engendered by conflict?

What do we want to say about the scars and fault-lines of organisational psychoanalysis?

What is a fruitful conflict?

In the spirit of the SITE, we hope to hear voices that speak from differing and opposing perspectives and disciplines or from those who occupy marginal spaces. Not to encourage conflict, but to provoke a thinking about it; not to close down difference, but to hear what that difference does. Isn’t this the radical nature of psychoanalysis?

We invite papers inspired or provoked by these questions.

We invite ideas for workshops, seminars, readings or screenings as part of the Spring Conference Satellite programme.

Abstracts for papers lasting twenty minutes can be sent to the Conference Committee below.

All papers will be eligible to be published in the issue of our journal, Sitegeist, devoted to the Conference.