Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
Parallel session 12: Rountable
Friday, 16/Oct/2020:
12:15pm - 1:30pm

Session Chair: JIll Gentile
Session Chair: Danielle Frank

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From Truth or Dare to Show and Tell: A Conversation about Childhood Ritual, Play, Symbolic Life and the Performative Dimensions of Psychoanalysis and Democracy.

Chair(s): JIll Gentile (NYU Postdoc, United States of America)

Presenter(s): Carol Owens (Trinity College), Marilyn Charles (Austen Riggs Center), Stephanie S. Swales (University of Dallas)

Gentile (2010) proposed that the childhood ritual, Truth or Dare, is one of several (including Hide and Seek, and Show and Tell) through which a subject of desire emerges (performatively) at the crossroads of private and public. Such childhood rituals facilitate the capacity for symbolic play, intimacy, and erotic communication while also foreshadowing the intersubjective dimensions of these projects, insofar as they invite, seduce, and compel the Other’s asymmetrical but nonetheless real participation.

Picking up some of the threads from Gentile’s discussion we will explore some of the stakes of the game, Truth or Dare, since in the requirement that both subjects relinquish a fantasy of “privacy” or solipsism, there is no escaping some level of self-revelation not of our own choosing.

The game of Truth or Dare. thus, shares the same risks which undergird the fundamental rule of the game of psychoanalysis. In psychoanalysis it is the rule of free association in which “the patient takes the risk of not knowing what he is going to say” (Phillips, 1993) and thereby exposes —irretrievably—a previously private, and perhaps heretofore unconscious, realm of desire.

Panelists will each share associations to this framework, reflecting together upon how we negotiate the asymmetrical but nonetheless mutually revelatory enactments and embodied speech. We will consider how games and play enter into the work of analysis and discuss the responsibilities and ethical dimensions which arise.

Beyond the clinical encounter, we zoom out to consider the risks and opportunities inherent in cultivating collective practices of symbolic play. We will discuss how the false truths and fake dares of political leaders, immanent in political discourse, reflects the failure of play as a symbolic operation, and the rise instead of an imaginary dimension which depends upon the anti-democratic, anti-collective practices of colonization and possession.

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