Event Date: 2 November 2017
Clore Management Centre
London WC1E 7JL
The Birkbeck Institute for Social Research presents:
Jessica Benjamin, Beyond Doer and Done To (2017) – Public Panel Discussion
In Beyond Doer and Done To, Jessica Benjamin, author of the path-breaking Bonds of Love, expands her theory of mutual recognition and its breakdown into the complementarity of “doer and done to.” Her innovative theory charts the growth of the Third in early development through the movement between recognition and breakdown, and shows how it parallels the enactments in the psychoanalytic relationship. Benjamin’s recognition theory illuminates the radical potential of acknowledgment in healing both individual and social trauma, in creating relational repair in the transformational space of thirdness. Benjamin’s unique formulations of intersubjectivity make essential reading for both psychoanalytic therapists and theorists in the humanities and social sciences.
In this public panel discussion – chaired by Stephen Frosh (Birkbeck, University of London) – Alan Norrie (Warwick University) and Noreen O’Connor (Perspectives Psychotherapy) will comment on Beyond Doer and Done To.
Jessica Benjamin will then respond and an open Q&A discussion will follow.
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.
She conceived and directed the Acknowledgment project in Israel-Palestine together with Dr. Eyad el Sarraj from 204-2010 and her interest in collective trauma and acknowledgment has led her to work together with a number of psycho-activists from other countries, in particular Chile and South Africa.
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.
Alan Norrie is Professor of Law at Warwick University. His research interests include the critical and historical analysis of criminal law and in its ethical and doctrinal problems; ideas of guilt, forgiveness and justice; socio-legal theory; and critical realist and dialectical philosophy.
Norrie taught previously at the Universities of Dundee, Warwick and London. He was Edmund-Davies Professor of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice at King’s College London (1997-2009) and held the Drapers’ Chair in Law at Queen Mary and Westfield College (1994-7). He returned to Warwick in 2009 and was Head of the Law School from 2011-2015. He is President of the International Association for Critical Realism, a Fellow of the British Academy and a Leverhulme Major Research Fellow.
His books include Law, Ideology and Punishment (Kluwer, 1991), Punishment, Responsibility and Justice (Oxford University Press, 2000), Law and the Beautiful Soul (Routledge, 2005), Dialectic and Difference: Dialectical Critical Realism and the Grounds of Justice (Routledge, 2010). A third edition of Crime, Reason and History (Cambridge University Press), originally published in 1993, appeared in 2014, and Justice and the Slaughter Bench: Essays on Law’s Broken Dialectic is published in 2016.
Noreen O’Connor is in private practice as a relational psychotherapist in North London. She has also worked as a psychotherapist in a university counselling service. Her philosophical research on the work of Emmanuel Levinas focused on The Problem of Alterity (M.A. Thesis) and The Problem of Self-Identity; Exile and Enrootedness (PhD. Thesis), themes which she continues to find integral to her clinical work.
She has taught philosophy in a number of universities and social philosophy in adult education centres in Britain and Ireland. She has been a training committee member of three psychoanalytic psychotherapy organisations in London where she has also taught, supervised, and been a training therapist. She has lectured publicly and has run workshops on post-modernist phenomenological perspectives in psychoanalytic practice.
Noreen’s publications include (co-authored with Joanna Ryan) Wild Desires and Mistaken Identities; Lesbianism and Psychoanalysis (Virago 1993, reprinted Karnac 2003) and (co-authored with Mary Lynne Ellis) Questioning Identities; Philosophy in Psychoanalytic Practice (Karnac 2010). She is a co-founder, with Mary Lynne Ellis, of PhilosPsyche.