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Danse Macabre and Other Stories: A Psychoanalytic Perspective on Global Dynamics
Halina Brunning and Olya Khaleelee
Phoenix Publishing House / Softcover / 2021-03-01 / 191269137X
Psychoanalysis & Groups, Organisations
reg price: $68.95 our price: $ 65.50
340 pages
In Stock (Ships within one business day)

In creating this book, the authors’ primary task was to consider how psychoanalytic and systemic perspectives, theories, and concepts might be utilised in seeking to explain troubling global patterns and phenomena.

They offer a perspective on the contemporary world by exploring both the antecedents and the consequences of certain phenomena. Alongside this, they present hypotheses about the underlying meaning of current conflicts, about the increases in migration, antisemitism, political correctness, and activism, as well as on changing patterns of leadership, globalisation, and culture.

To enhance these perspectives, the book includes an introduction from Richard Morgan-Jones, a conclusion from Tim Dartington, and “stories” from Jennifer Bean, Claudia Nagel, Leslie Brissett, Huseyin Oezdemir, Ella C. Smith, and Andrzej Leder.


Danse Macabre and Other Stories: A Psychoanalytic Perspective on Global Dynamics examines the world using a systemic and psychoanalytic lens, including concepts of splitting, separation, projection, displacement, and the return of the repressed. They consider what impact the disappearance of some iconic and psychic containers has on individuals’ functioning and why we choose populist leaders to shore up our own social defences. They question why the world feels so threatening to the twenty-first-century linked-in citizens when the objective facts suggest that overall much is improving for the global citizen.

Building on their previous work, Halina Brunning and Olya Khaleelee have created a coherent framework in order to conceptualise global dynamics within a matrix form. The matrix contains dialectic dynamic forces for both good and evil, love and hate, creation and destruction. They take a closer look at the plethora of phenomena which they see arising therein.

Whilst the matrix holds steady, inside it is a world in constant flux, reconfiguring and rearranging itself, as if in a kaleidoscope, with inevitable and unavoidable turbulence, but – Brunning and Khaleelee hypothesise – with an underlying pattern that is available to be discerned and studied.

Aware of this turbulence, Brunning and Khaleelee wish to share their view of the world in the hope of offering a containing reflection, capable of calming the nerves of the readers as well as their own.

Table of Contents:

About the authors and contributors
Why this book now?
Introduction by Richard Morgan-Jones

Eros and Thanatos in a danse macabre: a glimpse at the contemporary world

Story about the disappearing containers
Story within a story by Jennifer Bean

Story about splitting separation and the centre that does not hold
Story within a story by Claudia Nagel

Story about troubling leadership in turbulent times
Story within a story by Leslie Brissett

Story about the return of the repressed: the impact of colonisation and migration
Story within a story by Huseyin Oezdemir

Story about globalisation and its discontents
Story within a story by Ella C. Smith

Story about social defences in a volatile world
Story about a story by Andrzej Leder

What are these stories telling us about our world today?

Final thoughts

Conclusions: The future we are in by Tim Dartington


About the Authors:

Halina Brunning is a chartered clinical psychologist, freelance organisational consultant, and accredited executive coach. She has published extensively on clinical and organisational issues, and edited several books for Karnac including Executive Coaching: Systems-Psychodynamic Perspective (2006), translated into Italian in 2009. Between 2010 and 2014 she conceived of and edited a trilogy of books, which analyses the contemporary world through a psychoanalytic lens: “Psychoanalytic Perspectives on a Turbulent World”.

Olya Khaleelee is a corporate psychologist, psychoanalytic psychotherapist, and organisational consultant with a particular interest in leadership, organisational transition, and transformation. She has been associated with the Tavistock Institute for over 30 years in developing group relations both in the UK and abroad, and was the first female director of the Leicester Conference, which explores authority, leadership and organisation from a psychoanalytic and systemic perspective. She was chairwoman of the London Centre for Psychotherapy (now part of British Psychotherapy Foundation) and for many years was director of OPUS: Organisation for Promoting the Understanding of Society, applying a psychoanalytic and systemic approach to understanding the societal processes that give rise to conflict and division. She has published extensively in the areas of leadership, including psychological assessment of senior executives and on system psychodynamics in the organisation and beyond, into society.

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