Lene Auestad, Author,
from the Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas,
University of Oslo
This webpage presents texts I have written, together with lectures and talks I have given.
As a philosopher, I regard my research as continuing the tradition of critical theory, in which philosophical thought is seen, not as isolated from, but as capable of giving something back to society by engaging reflectively with the theme of social oppression. Psychoanalytic thinking has been a parallel interest from early on. I am fascinated by is its attention to what is underlying, unspoken, unacknowledged, split-off or repressed, negative or absent, as well as, in its object-relational version, its fine-tuned sensitivity to the nuances of specific situations. Thus I find that psychoanalytic, compared to philosophical reflection, is far better suited to capture the different layers or modes of human subjectivity, although it is haunted by its own form of blindness in a tendency to disregard its own situatedness; in my usage of it I have aimed to incorporate further reflection on such cultural and social factors. This stance is partly inspired by Hannah Arendt, one of my favourite philosophers, who emphasises the importance of the point of view from which one perceives and thinks, and by extending it through exchanges with others. She is a thinker who is motivated by political experiences, takes them very seriously, and then re-thinks the Western tradition on that basis – the opposite of the ‘top-down’ approach which characterises most philosophy; a view from somewhere, yet with a willingness to be moved. My Cand. Philol. thesis focused on Arendt’s concept of plurality. Psychoanalytic thinking came more to the foreground in my PhD thesis from the University of Oslo, Respect; Plurality and Prejudice: A Psychoanalytical and Philosophical Enquiry into the Dynamics of Social Exclusion and Discrimination. It combined philosophical reflection with psychoanalytic thinking, while also engaging with sociology and psycho-social studies. The Ethics Programme and The Centre for Studies of the Holocaust and Religious Minorities in Oslo have provided spaces where I could develop my research interests. After I moved to the UK, my horizon was further expanded by contact with The Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex, The Institute of Psychoanalysis in London and The UK Psycho-Social Network.
Creating the international and interdisciplinary conference series Psychoanalysis and Politics has been very important to me in having an interdisciplinary and egalitarian space where that there is a sense of a real openness and a desire to pose new questions together. See http://www.psa-pol.org
On Twitter: @LeneAuestad
E-mail: la[at]lawritings.net or lene.auestad[at]gmail.com