Faced by the increasing divisiveness and volatility of electoral politics, and the rise of illiberal fundamentalisms, the social sciences may seem to lack the imagination necessary to make sense of the world. In this unusual book of political psychology, based on the idea that we hold ourselves together through a combination of restraint and release, Barry Richards draws on psychoanalysis and its creative interpretations of everyday experience to consider the current malaise of politics in relation to the huge vitality of popular culture. In a wide-ranging analysis, that links topics as diverse as our experience of public utilities, the rise of counselling, and the weakened impact of sexual scandal, he concludes with the proposal that a reconstruction of nationalism could make an important contribution to the renewal of democratic politics.
Table of Contents:
About the Author
Series Editors’ Preface
Introduction: The frailties of liberal democracy
1) The popular disciplines of delight
2) The containing matrix of the social
3) The therapeutic culture hypothesis
4) Containment and compression: politics in the therapeutic age
5) A new psychosocial theory of nationalism
About the Author:
Barry Richards is Professor of Political Psychology at Bournemouth University. Previously he was Professor of Human Relations at the University of East London, where he led the establishment of teaching and research in psychosocial studies. Before that, he had been a clinical psychologist in the NHS. Amongst his books are Images of Freud: Cultural Responses to Psychoanalysis (1984), Disciplines of Delight: The Psychoanalysis of Popular Culture (1994), and Emotional Governance: Politics, Media and Terror (2007).