Some psychic effects of neoliberalism: Narcissism, disavowal, perversion

Abstract

Neoliberalisms promote the development of certain versions of subjectivity, certain character structures, defenses, transferences, and countertransferences. Foucauldian theories go only so far in being able to account for the way neoliberal versions of subjectivity are lived. The paper elaborates on the individual, group, and relational effects of social repudiations of vulnerability and dependency needs and describes the perverse effects of the widespread disavowal of the interdependence of privileged and marginalized populations.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    In the field of mental health, for example, the introduction of managed care sent therapists scurrying to sign up to be on insurance panels, even though many of us were aware, from the beginning, of the anti-therapeutic conditions of managed care (e.g., reduced number of allowable sessions, bureaucratic oversight of patient care by non-clinicians). A few scattered counter-movements were launched, but when most therapists, encouraged by professional organizations, anxiously joined panels to secure referrals, the battle was lost.

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Layton, L. Some psychic effects of neoliberalism: Narcissism, disavowal, perversion. Psychoanal Cult Soc 19, 161–178 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1057/pcs.2014.5

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Keywords

  • neoliberalism
  • narcissism
  • perversion
  • disavowal
  • trauma
  • social narcissism