Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Tariq Ali and his Audiences: The Appeal of Terrorism when Semanticized Positively

Dr Edelyn Schweidson.

At an international psychoanalytic gathering in Rio de Janeiro, November 22-24, an audience of approximately 700 psychoanalysts from several parts of the world was carried away by enthusiasm, lavishing applause and praise upon their guest speaker, Tarik Ali. The latter, an icon of the anti-globalization movement, extolled the virtues - the "courage", "heroism" and "martyrdom"- of terrorism and of suicide bombers in his speech. Both Jewish and non-Jewish psychoanalysts - a minority however - present at the talk were distraught by what they perceived to be anti-semitic remarks.
This paper intends to analyse why a speech in praise of terrorism, such as this, triggered such extreme reactions of enthusiasm and indignation among psychoanalysts. In so doing I make reference to Freud's writings on war and peace and the psychology of crowds, as well as to the writings of Slavoj Zizek, who combines lacanian psychoanalytic theory with hegelian and marxist instruments of analysis in an attempt to better understand the social-political predicaments of our times.


Dr Edelyn Schweidson  (Brazil)
Member of SPID (Psychoanalytical Society Iracy Doyle)

SPID (Psychoanalytical Society Iracy Doyle)

I am a Brazilian clinical psychologist and received my MA and my Ph.D in clinical psychology from the New School for Social Research in New York. I am affiliated to SPID, a psychoanalytical society in Rio de Janeiro, and work in private practice. I was granted a post doctoral scholarship for research on homeless children's fictional narratives and I have also done therapeutical work with these children.

  • Transforming of an audience of Psychoanalysts into a crowd
  • Individuals giving up of their responsibilities in response to a charismatic leader
  • Appeal of violence when semanticized as a virtue
Person as Subject
  • Ali, Tarik Freud, Sigmund Burg, Abraham

(Virtual Presentation, English)