Presenter: Emeritus Associate Professor Sally Swartz, PhD
Saturday, November 20, 2021: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
TPS Scientific Meeting: Open to All
Winnicott is often characterized as an eloquent theorist of holding, play, and the quest for aliveness and creativity. Transitional space, the delicate mediation between inner and outer, is central to both containment and creativity. But Winnicott is also a theorist of aggression. This presentation explores the place of ruthless destruction in Winnicott’s theory of development, and ways in which it might be a useful conceptual tool in thinking through rhythms of misrecognition and counter-recognition, both clinically and in political protest. There is an intriguing parallel between Winnicott’s ideas about ruthlessness, and Frantz Fanon’s views on the psychological significance of violence in freeing the consciousness of those traumatized by colonialism. The second part of the presentation will outline these parallels and consider their implications for current projects aimed at decolonizing psychoanalysis.
At the end of this presentation participants will be able to:
(This presentation will encourage discussion in the following three areas.)
- The place of ruthlessness in Winnicott’s theory, and its resonance with contemporary relational theorizing about conflict and recognition.
- Ruthlessness in the service of creation and destruction during the analytic process.
- Collision, destruction, and object usage in establishing decolonial states of mind.
Sally Swartz, PhD
Emeritus Associate Professor Sally Swartz (University of Cape Town) is a practicing psychoanalytic psychotherapist. She has a particular interest in the fields of colonialism and decolonization in psychoanalytic theory. Homeless Wanderers: Movement and Mental Illness in the Cape Colony in the Nineteenth Century was published by UCT Press in 2015, and Ruthless Winnicott: The Role of Ruthlessness in Psychoanalysis and Political Protest by Routledge in 2019.
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