VIII Meeting of the International Society of Psychoanalysis and Philosophy
Organização: International Society for Psychoanalysis and Philosophy (ISPP)/Société Internationale de Psychanalyse et Philosophie (SIPP)
Local: São Paulo (SP) e Belo Horizonte (MG)
Data: 23 a 27 de novembro de 2015
From Freudian mass psychology to Laclau’s populism
CASTRO, J. C. L.
Resumo: According to Freud, horizontal identification among the masses involves a shared symptom, the love of each individual for the leader. This means that each follower puts the leader in the place of his or her own ego ideal. An idea may also perform this part, in this case being considered a secondary leader. And this holds true for all kinds of masses, including the political ones. In contemporary societies, though, there has been an important change in the dynamic of political mobilization. Movements like Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, and Brazilian Autumn are organized like networks. Instead of having a single center, they are loosely coordinated through a plural leadership, reflecting the decline of the normative power of ego ideal in our era. This makes it easier for them to rally people for manifestations, but this heterogeneity also hinders their ability to bring about change, or to imprint a direction to change whenever it occurs. Here, populism as a political logic, according to Laclau’s proposal, emerges as a possible alternative. It establishes a chain of equivalences among several demands and condenses them through an empty signifier, which operates somewhat like the secondary leader in Freud. Ideally, the equivalence would not cancel the differences among those behind such demands. On top of that, populism proposes a counterpart to the neoliberal rational consensus, inspired by the market. Considering that, despite its dominant position in different walks of social life, neoliberalism leaves a trail of problems and contradictions, populism could not only articulate demands arising from them, but do so in a way to stress a fundamental difference between people and elites, granting cohesion to “we” against “them.” This corresponds to what Mouffe, drawing on Schmitt’s critique of liberal democracy, calls “agonistic pluralism.” Heavily indebted to psychoanalysis, Laclau’s contributions play an important role in current strategies of the Left.
Palavras-chave: mass psychology, populism, Freud, Laclau.