Jessica Benjamin in Conversation with Lynne Segal

Event Date:10 November 2016

Room B34
Birkbeck Main Building
Birkbeck, University of London
Torrington Square
London WC1E 7HX

The Birkbeck Institute for Social Research presents:

Jessica Benjamin in Conversation with Lynne Segal

Jessica Benjamin is one of the best known contemporary psychoanalysts, whose work has had a profound impact on psychoanalysis, feminism and political activism. Her path-breaking book, The Bonds of Love: Psychoanalysis, Feminism and the Problems of Domination, appeared in 1988 and has continued to provoke discussion and radical thought ever since (for instance in two special issues of Studies in Gender and Sexuality to mark its 25th anniversary). Her work since then has developed into a profound engagement with intersubjectivist theory that has combined a reformulation of relational psychoanalysis (her 2004 paper, Beyond Doer and Done To is one of the most highly cited contemporary psychoanalytic papers) with an approach to recognition and acknowledgement that has had powerful political reverberations, especially in the context of Israel-Palestine. Jessica Benjamin is a practicing psychoanalyst in New York City, where she is a supervising faculty member at the New York University postdoctoral psychology program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, and at the Stephen Mitchell Center for Relational Studies.

In this special event, Jessica Benjamin will be in conversation with Lynne Segal, Anniversary Professor of Psychology and Gender Studies in the Department of Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck. Lynne Segal is widely recognised as a major feminist scholar, whose many books include Is the Future Female?: Troubled Thoughts on Contemporary Feminism; Slow Motion: Changing Masculinities, Changing Men; Straight Sex: The Politics of Pleasure; Why Feminism: Gender, Psychology, Politics?, and more recently Out of Time: The Pleasures & Paradoxes of Ageing, as well as her political memoir, Making Trouble: Life and Politics, which will be re-issued in 2017, to be followed by the book she is working on Radical Happiness: Moments of Collective Joy.

The BISR Psychoanalysis Working Group provides a context for colleagues across Birkbeck to meet together to explore psychoanalytic theory and practice in all its diverse dimensions.

Introduction by Professor Stephen Frosh (Birkbeck):





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  • Thank you for making the recording available online.

    My doctoral research was concerned with tensions between structure and agency in the lives of women in the early years after the birth of their first child.

    I sought to bridge the micro-meso-and-macro dimensions to this experience. I drew from the work of Jessica Benjamin and the notion of intersubjectivity in talking about the mother-infant connection and from welfare economics and ethics of care to talk about the macro social structuring of care. But further to this I drew from the work of Cornelius Castoriadis (radical and social imaginaries) to talk an interplay between the individual and the social through meanings (the meso-social).

    Do you know of the work of Castoriadis and his means of understanding processes of structure and agency? Would be interested to know your thoughts about my construction, if that were possible.

    Best, Joan