Raluca SoreanuJul 20, 2020
Working-through Collective Wounds
Trauma, Denial, Recognition in the Brazilian Uprising
Palgrave Macmillan 2018
Working-through Collective Wounds: Trauma, Denial, Recognition in the Brazilian Uprising (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018) formulates a theory of collective trauma, drawing on the work of Sándor Ferenczi.
Dr. Soreanu takes Ferenczi into the public square to answer a series of questions. What does it mean to understand the operation of the confusions of tongues at the social level? What are the consequences of imagining the social as an encounter between different registers? And how did we come to postulate the importance, among all social registers, of the tension between the register of recognition and the register of redistribution?
Applying Ferenczian theory to these “interrogations” Soreanu utilizes psychosocial vignettes to make a series of arguments. “Akin to clinical vignettes, their aim is to capture a movement of the libido, or the expression of a symptom, or the resolution of a symptom, or a particular kind of regression, or a kind of dreaming-up that puts some symbols in relation to others.”
In addition to working with established meta-psychologies, Soreanu adds “the pleasure of analogy” to Ferenczi’s emergent ‘vocabulary of pleasure’. This new “doubly relational” pleasure takes us away from the Freudian “insistence on processes of identification” and demonstrates that our epistemologies are “libidinised affairs: they have an erotics.”
At the end of the book, Soreanu answers two questions: What returns to psychoanalysis, after taking Ferenczi to the streets and to the squares, alongside crowds in protest? What returns to social theory, after we have taken Ferenczi to the streets?
Working-through Collective Wounds is part of a series, Studies in the Psychosocial “distinguished by its emphasis on affect, the irrational and unconscious processes, often, but not necessarily, understood psychoanalytically.”
Raluca Soreanu is Reader in Psychoanalytic Studies and Director of Research of the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies at the University of Essex.
Christopher Russell is a psychoanalyst in Chelsea Manhattan and can be reached at (212) 260-8115