WHAT IS ANALYSIS & ACTIVISM?
A ‘political turn’ had been fermenting in analytical psychology and Jungian analysis since the early 2000s. This became possible after the Jungian communities began to engage with Jung’s politics, specifically its problems with race, gender, class/elitism. Analysis and Activism (A&A) is the one outward manifestation of this ‘political turn’ within the International Association for Analytical Psychology (IAAP). There have, of course, been others. For example, The San Francisco Jung Institute’s Bolinas Conference in 2000, as well as their Presidency Conferences, held every four years also since 2000, all represent aspects of this political turn in analytical psychology.
Analysis and Activism is a loosely organized group of mostly Jungian-oriented psychoanalysts and scholars who are interested in the intersection of a psychoanalytic understanding of human nature as expressed in the political life and action of individuals and groups. Some are particularly interested in being politically active around issues of social/psychological relevance where human abuses and injuries are occurring. Most are psychosocial analytic therapists, many of whom are affiliated as analysts and candidates with local organizations and with IAAP. Many are also consultants, teachers, writers and researchers in universities and analytical training institutes. The group is international and its primary mode of communication has been via an internet listserv, and through the organization of conferences and online forums for interviews and talks.
Analysis and Activism has a flat structure and no moderation. The committee oversees all the activities, as well as its relationship with IAAP. The steering committee members are: Gustavo Beck, Stefano Carpani, Kathleen Kirgin, Tine Papič, Michał Stankiewicz, Manca Švara, Alex Sierck and Emma Wong. However, A&A is not an affiliated member of IAAP, although there is mutual influence, interaction and debate between the two. We believe that enhanced attention to collective and political issues of IAAP is attributable to the existence and work of A&A.
In sum, Analysis and Activism has fostered a growing recognition among Jungians (although later than other groups of therapists) of the potential for clinically-based depth psychologies and analytic to be brought to bear on understanding and addressing political problems and struggles.
The special aim of A&A is to facilitate both open activism and analyses of activism by those presently non-active. It was accepted that any contemporary clinical therapist might wish to engage in political actions that were, as is usual in politics, passionate and partisan.
The aim of A&A is to inform, to stimulate, (sometimes) to educate, and to foster dialogue and praxis of considered thoughts from all sectors of the globe regarding concerns and ideas that relate to the intersection of psychosocial issues and the political. A&A wishes to further understanding and promote meaningful political action among those interested in the relationship between the human psyche and expression in political life (although not to promote any specific political agenda nor to identify with any political party or political orientation).
Emilija Kiehl (2016) recalls:
Andrew Samuels and me started an exchange of e-mails about giving a talk on a political theme at British Jungian Analytic Association (BJAA). Soon after, we both attended the XIX Congress of the International Association for Analytical Psychology (IAAP) in Copenhagen where some of our colleagues´ presentations inspired our renewed interest in pursuing the idea of a talk on politics in London. After the Congress, Andrew and I met in London to make a plan”. The first “Analysis and Activism Conference under the auspices of IAAP, was already being generated. […] We drew a list of those we knew were interested and engaged in political matters, and came up with about thirty names, many from abroad. […] We had no funds for the endeavour, anyone presenting would have to cover all their travel and accommodation expenses and there would be no fee! […] Within a day or two, the replies started to pour in and our absolutely packed conference programme testified that almost everyone we invited said, yes! […] Furthermore, once the word was out, more colleagues were contacting us offering to participate […].
We informed IAAP of what was happening, and they gave us seed money to secure a venue for the conference. The five IAAP London Jungian training organisations – AJA, BJAA, GAP, IGAP, SAP – delegated representatives for the conference organising team, and, only a year or so later, there we were, in the elegant nineteenth-century venue built by the British General Medical Council, partaking in an inspiring weekend of thinking, discussing and questioning together.
In 2014, the group met in London for the first International Association for Analytical Psychology conference on Analysis and Activism: Social and Political Contributions of Jungian Psychology organized by Andrew Samuels and Emilija Kiehl. After the conference, the group decided to continue the discussion on a listserv and A&A´s listserv was created. A book was published, edited by Kiehl, E., Saban, M., and Samuels, A., titled Analysis and Activism: Social and Political Contributions of Jungian Psychology (London, New York: Routledge, 2016).
In 2015, the group meet in Rome for the second International Association for Analytical Psychology conference on Analysis and Activism: Social and Political Contributions of Jungian Psychology organized by the Italian Association for Analytical Psychology in the person of Stefano Carta, with the support of IAAP. A book was published, edited by Carta, S., Adorisio, A., and Mercurio, R., titledThe Analyst in the Polis. Vol. I , II(Ebook, 2017).
In 2017, the group met in Prague for the third International Associations for Analytical Psychology conference on Analysis and Activism titled More social and political contributions of Jungian psychology organized by the Czech Association for Analytical Psychology in the person of Martin Scala. A book was published, edited by Carta, S., and Kiehl, E., titled Political Passions and Jungian Psychology. Social and Political Activism in Analysis. (London, New York: Routledge, 2016).
In 2020, because of the spread of Covid pandemic, the fourth International Association for Analytical Psychology conference on Analysis and Activism titled The Reality of Fragmentation and the Yearning for Healing: Jungian Perspectives on Democracy, Power and Illusion in Contemporary Politics, was held online in association with the “U.S. Presidency Conference” organized by the Carl Gustav Jung Institute of San Francisco – by Andrew Samuels, Lynn Alicia Franco and Tom Singer. A book was published, edited by Singer, T., and Samuels, A., titled The Reality of Fragmentation and the Yearning for Healing: Jungian Perspectives on Democracy, Power and Illusion in Contemporary Politics. Online Book, available at https://aras.org/analysis-and-activism (2020).
In 2023, the fifth International Association for Analytical Psychology conference on Analysis and Activism titled Do we Really Have the Answer? A Psycho-Political Aagenda for Interdependence: Bridging ´Wish and Actuality´ in an Unhinged World will take place from 1-3 September 2023 in Ljubljana/Slovenia (organized by the Slovenian Association for Analytical Psychology – Stefano Carpani, Monica Luci, Tine Papic, Lilijana Rudolf, Alex Sierck and Manca Švara). To download the call for papers to the fifth Analysis and Activism conference click here. To send your proposal to the fifth Analysis and Activism conference click here. To register to the conference click here.