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Beyond Global "Therapeutic Culture": Hybrid Therapeutic Networks in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro

Venue: Online

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Beyond Global “Therapeutic Culture”: Hybrid Therapeutic Networks in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro

Organizers: Stephen Frosh and Ben Gidley

Speaker: Mariano Plotkin (Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero)

The diffusion of “therapeutic culture” is generally conceived as a global phenomenon, which has supposedly expanded from North to South (and, at the outset, from East to West). This talk (which conveys some central results of a collective research project) will challenge the accepted notions of the “therapeutic” and of “therapeutic culture” --and the forms of subjectivation allegedly associated to it-- from the vantage point of two “modern” Latin American cities: Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires, in which psychoanalysis has enjoyed wide diffusion within the last decades. The presentation will outline some of the theoretical concepts that ground the analysis, which adopts a “bottom-up” approach to the analysis of the different therapeutic narratives we have gathered in our research, and will argue for the necessity of broadening the notion of “the therapeutic.” Specifically, instead of exploring the different forms of local reception or appropriation of supposedly global “therapeutic cultures” –as most of the current literature does–, our research delves into the articulation between different ways of understanding and experimenting “the therapeutic,” as attested in the specific “therapeutic narratives.” The talk will argue for conceptualizing the practices under analysis as assemblages and networks, since they bear evidence of the emergence of a complex and highly unstable notion of the “therapeutic,” in which “modern” therapeutic techniques and theories are syncretized with so-called “traditional” forms of healing. Furthermore, these forms of therapeutic syncretism are grounded in a variety of forms of conceiving subjectivity, in which autonomy and heteronomy, as well as individualistic and relational notions of the self are intimately intertwined.

Contact name:

  • Mariano Plotkin -

    Mariano Plotkin is Professor of History, Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero and Researcher, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas - Centro de Investigaciones Sociales, Argentina. He is a leading historian of psychoanalysis and one of the key figures in research on the development of psychoanalysis in Latin America. His books in English include Freud in the Pampus and the co-edited volume, Psychoanalysis and Politics: Histories of Psychoanalysis Under Conditions of Restricted Political Freedom.