CALL FOR PAPERS: Authority, wrote Said, "is formed, irradiated, disseminated; it is instrumental, it is persuasive" – it "can, indeed must, be analysed" ( 2003). "There is no alternative" is the phrase Thatcher often repeated with reference to economic liberalism. It can be taken as symbolic of the language of power or the rhetorics of oppressive persuasion, more generally. We are told that there is no alternative to protecting ourselves against 'others' who are after stealing scarce jobs and welfare goods, or who pose a threat to security. Hence, it is argued, borders need to be closed, minorities kept at a distance or in a state of submission, and techniques of surveillance are called for. Fear is stirred up and utilised to produce obedience to these demands,
presented as fundamental and thus overriding concerns for human rights. In Moïsi's words "the culture of fear is reducing the qualitative gap that once existed between democratic and nondemocratic regimes, for fear pushes the countries to violate their own moral principles" (2010). Right-wing populist discourse, historically as well as today, combines the function of voicing a revolt against authorities with a highly authoritarian stance. Thus it echoes both the voice of the 'it' and that of the 'over-I', allowing for, or demanding aggression against people posited as 'other' or 'weaker' than those the listener is impelled to identify with. We might liken this process to identification with the aggressor, leaving behind a mind "which consists only of the id and super-ego" (Ferenczi, 1933), and question whether traumatised societies are more susceptible to such rhetorics of power. Please see the full text of the call for papers on our webpage: www.psa-pol.org deadline December 10th 2013.
This is an interdisciplinary conference. We promote discussion among the presenters and participants, creating a space where representatives of different perspectives come together to engage with one another's contributions and participate in a community of thought. A participation fee, which includes two shared dinners, of £150 (or € 178) before February 15th 2014 – £180 (or € 214) after February 15th 2014, is to be paid before the symposium. Please contact us if you wish to make a donation towards the conference. We thank all donors in advance!
LENE AUESTAD, PhD, prev. Research Fellow, Philosophy, University of Oslo/
Centre for Studies of the Holocaust and Religious Minorities/ London
JONATHAN DAVIDOFF, Psychologist, Honorary Psychotherapist WMUH,
PhD Candidate UCL, London