D.W. Winnicott and Political Theory: Recentering the Subject

Go to book’s site at palgrave.com


In this volume, the work of British psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott is set in conversation with some of today’s most talented psychodynamically-sensitive political thinkers. The editors and contributors demonstrate that Winnicott’s thought contains underappreciated political insights, discoverable in his reflections on the nature of the maturational process, and useful in working through difficult impasses confronting contemporary political theorists.

Specifically, Winnicott’s psychoanalytic theory and practice offer a framework by which the political subject, destabilized and disrupted in much postmodern and contemporary thinking, may be recentered. Each chapter in this volume, in its own way, grapples with this central theme: the potential for authentic subjectivity and inter-subjectivity to arise within a nexus of autonomy and dependence, aggression and civility, destructiveness and care.

This volume is unique in its contribution to the growing field of object-relations-oriented political and social theory. It will be of interest to political scientists, psychologists, and scholars of related subjects in the humanities and social sciences.

Praise for D.W. Winnicott and Political Theory  

“True scholarship must encompass the rediscovery of sorely neglected sources of valuable knowledge. Bowker and Buzby and their likewise excellent contributors do us a great service in bringing Winnicott’s profound psychoanalytic wisdom back into the fray of political theory, front and un-decentered. I couldn’t recommend this stimulating and provocative volume too highly.”

—Kurt Jacobsen, University of Chicago, USA and author of Freud’s Foes and of Pacification and Its Discontents

“The shared premise of this book is illustrated with admirable deftness, theoretical sophistication, and lucidity across a wide spectrum of themes. The result is a volume which, in its totality, is much more than the sum of its parts. Anyone interested in the potential of free, humane subjectivity, and in the critique of anti-humanism, will find it deeply rewarding.”

—David N. Smith, Professor and Chair of Sociology, University of Kansas, USA

“This book is a fine volume of uncommon depth and reach. A clinician rather than a political thinker, Winnicott’s work nevertheless emerges as a significant resource for our understanding of political agency and what a good society might be. Readers already persuaded of that fact will find their thinking taken in new and surprising directions.  Those unfamiliar with Winnicott’s ideas will find many reasons to take seriously his relevance to political thought and to matters of pressing political concern.”

—Peter Redman, Editor of Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society