Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 105–117 | Cite as

Activity, speech, and change: Progressive politics and regressive fantasies

  • Matthew H. BowkerEmail author
Original Article


This essay examines convictions about the importance of speech and activity with reference to an ideal of change, where change may be understood in at least two ways: first, as a process by which persons or things become new or different in reality, and, second, as a grandiose fantasy in which change represents an end in itself and is aligned with ideals such as eternality, centrality, and significance. The essay compares analytic and political situations without suggesting that analytic and political arenas are identical, or that individuals or groups involved in either sort of activity ought to behave identically. Rather, it maintains that much of the dedication to speech and activity relies on a fantasy of change that may be orthogonal, if not antithetical, to a goal shared by psychoanalysis and progressive politics: the facilitation of the capacity to be, to act, and to generate meaningful change for the self and others.


change responsibility neutrality omnipotent fantasy group identification subjectivity 



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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Interdisciplinary StudiesMedaille CollegeBuffaloUSA

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