Frantz Fanon, Erich Fromm, Pierre Bourdieu, and Marie Langer are among those activists, clinicians, and academics who have called for a social psychoanalysis. For over thirty years, Lynne Layton has heeded this call and produced a body of work that examines unconscious process as it operates both in the social world and in the clinic.

In this volume of Layton’s most important papers, she expands on earlier theorists’ ideas of social character by exploring how dominant ideologies and culturally mandated, hierarchical identity prescriptions are lived in individual and relational conflict. Through clinical and cultural examples, Layton describes how enactments of what she calls ‘normative unconscious processes’ reinforce cultural inequalities of race, sex, gender, and class both inside and outside the clinic, and at individual, interpersonal, and institutional levels.

Clinicians, academics, and activists alike will find here a deeper understanding of the power of unconscious process, and are called on to envision and enact a progressive future in which vulnerability and interdependency are honored and systemic inequalities dismantled.

section Section I|85 pages

What is social psychoanalysis?

chapter 1|19 pages

Dreams of America/American dreams *

chapter 2|10 pages

Notes toward a nonconformist clinical practice

Response to Philip Cushman’s “Between Arrogance and a Dead-End: Gadamer and the Heidegger/Foucault Dilemma” *

chapter 3|11 pages

Attacks on linking

The unconscious pull to dissociate individuals from their social context *

chapter 4|10 pages

What divides the subject?

Psychoanalytic reflections on subjectivity, subjection, and resistance *

chapter 6|13 pages

Psychoanalysis and politics

Historicizing subjectivity *

section Section II|82 pages

Normative unconscious processes

chapter 7|20 pages

The psychopolitics of bisexuality *

chapter 8|11 pages

Relational no more

Defensive autonomy in middle-class women *

chapter 9|16 pages

That place gives me the heebie jeebies *

chapter 10|9 pages

Class in the clinic

Enacting distinction *

section Section III|105 pages

Neoliberal subjectivities and contemporary U.S. life

chapter 13|18 pages

Irrational exuberance

Neoliberal subjectivity and the perversion of truth *

chapter 14|21 pages

Yale, fail, jail

Sadomasochistic individual, large-group, and institutional effects of neoliberalism *

chapter 15|21 pages

Something to do with a girl named Marla Singer

Capitalism, narcissism, and therapeutic discourse in David Fincher’s Fight Club *

chapter 16|19 pages

Transgenerational hauntings

Toward a social psychoanalysis and an ethic of dis-illusionment *