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February 27th, 2014 at 8pm

Markus Brunner


Giving oneself a history. Some reflections on writing the history of psychoanalytic social psychology in the German speaking countries from within.


For the 2013 issue of the Annual Review of Critical Psychology, a few colleagues and I wrote an overview of the history of psychoanalytic social psychology in the German speaking countries, a tradition we are ourselves part of (see The paper outlines the key stages in the development of this critical tradition, from Freud and the Freudomarxists to the Frankfurt School, ethnopsychoanalysis, and some of the major theoretical and political debates in the 1960s and 70s within the student movement and it gives an insight into some of the key research foci and methodological debates within this strand.

In my presentation I will shortly introduce the tradition of psychoanalytical social psychology. My main goal, however, lies in sharing our critical self-reflections about the text and our project of 'inventing' a tradition by writing its history with you. We included these reflections in the later German publication of the text. We asked first about the implications of such a tradition building for our goal to strengthen our strand of research within the academia, second about its impact on the substance of the line of critical thought we are engaged with and third – somehow turning our research methods against ourselves – about the emotional dynamics involved in our project and in constructing a community of psychoanalytic social psychologists. By addressing these issues I would like to raise general questions about the purpose and the complex of problems involved in writing a history of a scientific (and political) tradition from within.


Markus Brunner has studied social psychology and sociology with a main focus on critical theory and psychoanalysis in Zurich (Switzerland) and Hannover (Germany). He is currently a lecturer of social psychology at the Sigmund-Freud-PrivateUniversity in Vienna, one of the coordinators of the Workgroup political psychology and co-founder of the newly founded Society for psychoanalytical social psychology. In spring 2014, he will be guest scholar at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. My key research fields are: Psychoanalytical social psychology, critical theories, psychoanalytical metapsychology, and the relation between social theory, arts and political practice.

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