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Tag Archives: Marxism and Psychology

Revolution in Psychology – by Ian Parker


Dearest friends:

Something incredibly shocking has happened. Ian Parker has been suspended from Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). It has happened suddenly and unexpectedly, and students and staff at the University have been given little to no explanation as to why.

Ian was suspended from work after having been unable to arrange, with barely 18 hours notice, for a union official to come with him to hear a charge that the university said amounted to ‘gross professional misconduct’. What this seems to mean is that Ian raised concerns within the University about the problem of secrecy and control in the department in which he works, and was suspended for doing so. Ian has had to leave his office and key, been told not to contact University staff and students, and his access to his email has been suspended.

For his students Ian has simply ‘disappeared’ overnight, and while he is keen to continue supervising and teaching, he is not allowed to.

I could never fully express what effect Ian’s sudden, shocking and completely unjustified suspension might mean for students at MMU and for the wider international academic community. Ian’s suspension is happening against a wider backdrop in the UK where while universities are now charging students £9000 a year (and much more for international students), and they are also cutting essential resources, often meaning staff have to work harder and complain less. This means that those staff who defend University as a space for open and democratic deliberation are often put under pressure to remain silent.

In fact another member of staff at MMU (and another member of the University and College Union – the UCU), Christine Vié, is also being victimised, and has been made compulsorily redundant (and there is an ongoing campaign to defend her). We are in shock, but only if we speak openly together will we be in a position to challenge and change what is happening to all of us.

Openness and democratic debate are the hallmarks of good education. Yet secrecy and silencing are key issues here.Ian has been silenced but his work continues to speak.

Yesterday I looked at the principle aims of ‘Psychology, Politics, Resistance’, which Ian helped to set up in 1994 as a network of people who were prepared to oppose the abusive uses and oppressive consequences of psychology, to support individuals to challenge exploitation, to develop a collective active opposition to oppression, and to make this a key element in the education of all psychologists.

So, let’s act together, and follow Ian’s example, and speak out – tell as many people as we can, and come together collectively as an international critical community to call upon the management of MMU to come to a resolution of this problem and to reinstate Ian.

Messages of protest can be sent to the Vice-Chancellor John Brooks (j.brooks) and the Head of the Department of Psychology Christine Horrocks (c.horrocks). These messages can be copied as messages of solidarity to the MMU UCU chair Pura Ariza (p.ariza) and it is imperative that, at the same time, support should be stepped up to support Christine Vié (c.vie).

The postgraduate students at MMU are sending a letter to the Vice Chancellor, and there will be flyers and posters put up on campus, and call outs in lectures all next week. Please do send letters and emails, and tell as many people as you can.

We will keep you posted about further action, and do let us know if you have any ideas for how we can fight this together (because we can fight this together). Please feel free to email me china.t.mills.

In solidarity,
China Mills (alongside many of the students at MMU)


Messages of protest can be sent to the Vice-Chancellor John Brooks ( and the Head of the Department of Psychology Christine Horrocks ( These messages can be copied as messages of solidarity to the MMU UCU chair Pura Ariza ( and it is imperative that, at the same time, support should be stepped up to support Christine Vié (




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Marxism and Psychology

Marxism and Psychology


Issue 9: Marxism and Psychology

This issue of the Annual Review of Critical Psychology (ARCP) explores issues that emerge at the intersection of Marxist scholarship and psychological practice. Given the ongoing global financial crisis, it seems like an appropriate time to reflect on the role that modern psychological research and practice play both in reproducing and in legitimizing one of the dominant features of modern society. We hope that the articles in this issue will persuade scholars, students, and activists that Marxism remains a potent tool for interrogating the economic and political foundations of modern psychology. It should be noted that the papers included in this issue were originally presented at the first Marxism and Psychology Conference held at theUniversityofPrince Edward Islandin August of 2010.

Contents of ARCP 9


Marxist Scholarship and Psychological Practice

Marxism and Psychology Conference 2010


Knowldge and Interest in Psychology: From Ideology to Ideology Critique and Beyond

Reconstructing the Critique of Ideology: A Critical-Hermeneutic and PsychologicalOutline

Re-Imagining Non-Domination: Troubling Assumptions in Psychoanalytic Critical Theory

The Role of Technology in Herbert Marcuse’s Eros and Civilization

Hidden Trends: Reason, Renunciation and Liberation in Marcuse’s Appropriation of Hegel and Freud

Meditation of the Socialist Dream: Psychoanalysis, Psychology, and the Political Organization of a Discipline

Marx in Lacan: Proletarian Truth in Opposition to Capitalist Psychology

To Sell Marx in North America is to Not Sell Marx

Ideology Beyond Marx: Shame, Disambiguation, and the Social Fashioning of Reparation

The Malleable and Open Body: Emancipatory or Oppressive?

Identity Recognition and the Normative Challenge of Crowd Psychology

Marxian Currents in Latin and North American Community Psychology

The Development of Development: A Post-Marxist Analysis of the Development of Hegemonic Developmental Psychology

Wresting Change as a Liberating Concept: Lessons Learned from Teen Moms in a Liberation Psychology Workshop

You can download each paper by clicking on the title or download the complete issue (which includes the biographical notes for contributors) in one complete 140 page pdf here.

Annual Review of Critical Psychology is an international peer-reviewed online open-access journal (ISSN 1746-739X)

A full list of members of the ARCP editorial board can be accessed here.



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Morelia Cathedral


*Morelia, Mexico, 9-12 August 2012*
*Conference website*:
*Abstract submission deadline: 15 March, 2012*
*Key-speakers and special participants include: Guillermo Delahanty, Anup Dhar, Fernando González-Rey, Raquel Guzzo, Grahame Hayes**, **Lois Holzman**, **Gordana Jovanovic, Lynne Layton, Athanasios Marvakis, Raúl Páramo-Ortega, Hans Skott Myhre, Ian Parker, and Lawrence Wilde.***

Invitation to the Second Marxism and Psychology Conference

On behalf of the organising committee, it is our pleasure to invite you to the *Second Marxism & Psychology Conference*, which will be held from 9 to 12 August 2012, at the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, located in Morelia, Michoacán, Western Mexico. Like the first conference in Prince Edward Island, Canada, this second conference aims at bringing activists, students and scholars together to discuss exciting issues at the intersection of Marxism and Psychology.

As contemporary psychology goes through these times of crisis, revolts and protests around the world, we need to reflect again on the significance of Marxism for psychological scholarship and practice. We know that different fields of psychology have already been permeated, questioned, challenged and concerned by Marxist theory and practice during the last century. Currently several scholars and activists recognize the potential for Marxism to transform psychology. A number of them acknowledge the increasing role of Marxist theory and practice in their scientific pursuits and political activities. And many scholars make research on the historical and current positions in the intersection of Marxism with psychology. At present, however, there still are relatively few opportunities for all
these people to exchange their findings and their views on this essential topic.

We believe that this *Second Marxism & Psychology Conference* will be a unique intellectual forum to encounter different and often competing views on Marxism from the different fields of psychology and other disciplines, as well as an excellent opportunity for scholars and activists to meet again and introduce a new generation of psychologists to the Marxist perspective

Conference topic areas include: Marxist Psychology, Marxism and Educational Psychology, Marxism and Clinical Psychology, Marxism and Social Psychology, Marxism and Critical Psychology, Marxism and Psychoanalysis; Marxism, Humanism and Humanistic Psychology; Marxism, Feminism and Psychology; Marxism, Liberation Psychology and Community Psychology; Activity Theory and Cultural Historical Psychology.

The site of the conference, the city of *Morelia*, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its well preserved colonial buildings and layout of the historic center. The Mexican Federal Government lists 1,113 old buildings having historical value, including the impressive cathedral, 4 important monasteries, 3 convents, 4 old colleges, many large churches and palaces, and some buildings of the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, the oldest institution of higher education in the New World, founded in 1540 by Vasco de Quiroga. Also in Morelia is the first music conservatory in the Americas, the Conservatorio de las Rosas, established in 1734.

For further information, visit the website of the conference:

If you have any question, don’t hesitate to contact us to:

David Pavón Cuéllar and Jorge Mario Flores Osorio




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Disguised as maximum fun’

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Stilton Cheese Rolling


London Seminars on Self-organising

This series is a mixture of workshops and discussions on self-organisation and non-hierarchical work practices. It aims to bring together practitioners and theorists of forms of organisation that eschew hierarchical modes of division of labour as part of a critique of the imposition of work and productivity for profit to share working practices and collectively address their problems, obstacles, successes, and aspirations.

The encounters aim to provide an initial platform to reflect on current practices, establish networks and create shared concept-tools that can be used in different situations. We will begin from our questions, discomforts and curiosities: What dispositives feed the potential of collective practices? What makes self organisation different from self management? How do we inhabit, modulate and speak about groups? How do we share tasks, pass on knowledges, reach out or support each other through this crisis?

The guests we have invited will offer some points of departure for us to take elsewhere. The purpose is to increase our awareness of the modalities through which we become, act, and affect one another in common. As an experimental beginning, we wanted to focus each of the first set of encounters around four broad themes. We hope that this project may continue and transform itself based on the inputs and desires of all those involved.

As part of the project, recordings, materials and other resources will be made available online here:

For enquiries and suggestions, send an email to:

All sessions are free and open to the public to participate.

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Rough Theory


February 22, 2011

Talk: “The Higher Realms of Nonsense: Unpacking Capital’s ‘Greatest Difficulty’”

By Nicole Pepperell, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

Time: Tuesday 6-8 pm

Place: The New School, Room 529, 80 Fifth Ave., NYC


“The Higher Realms of Nonsense: Unpacking Capital’s ‘Greatest Difficulty’”

Marx argues that the reproduction of capital also necessarily reproduces the possibility for a more emancipatory form of social life. But how does this happen? And how can we use an analysis of the reproduction of capital, to develop an analysis of emancipatory potential?

In this paper, I explore some of the reasons these questions have proven unexpectedly difficult to answer. Concentrating on the opening chapters of Capital, I analyse how Marx understands capitalism as a complex, unintentional system – one that generates an accidental order that political economists mistake for evidence of Reason operating in history. Marx positions the political economic theorisation of capitalism as a kind of intelligent design – and mocks it mercilessly, structuring the opening chapters of Capital as a burlesque parody of common forms of political economic theory. Where these chapters are read “straight”, interpreters assume that Marx endorses the very positions he sets out to criticise, and either read him as wildly contradictory, or miss his own theoretical claims outright. By highlighting the parodic character of Marx’s text – and repositioning political economy as the butt of Marx’s convoluted joke – it becomes easier to see Marx’s answer to the serious question of how the reproduction of capital could also generate emancipatory possibilities.


Nicole Pepperell is Program Director of Social Science (Psychology) and Lecturer of Social Theory in the School of Global Studies, Social Science and Planning at RMIT University in Melbourne Australia. She publishes the blog An introduction to her work on Marx, Disassembling Capital, will soon be published as part of the Historical Materialism books series. This talk is presented as a prelude to the forthcoming Historical Materialism conference at the New School (May 6-8th 2011).

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Marxism and Psychology

Marxism and Psychology



Call For Papers

Marxism and Psychology Conference, The University of Prince Edward Island, August 5-7, 2010



Submission Deadline: January 15, 2010

In the history of social thought, it is difficult to find a more divisive figure than Karl Marx. For many, the mere mention of his name conjures up images of totalitarian regimes dominating nearly every aspect of an individual’s existence. Yet for others, Marx’s critique of the capitalist mode of production draws attention to the fact that our beliefs, thoughts, and desires inevitably emerge against the background of specific cultural, historical, and social practices.

The purpose of this conference is to bring students, scholars, and activists together to discuss exciting issues at the intersection of Marxism and Psychology. While it is clear that a number of organizations are making important contributions to this area of study, we believe that the time is right to open up a space for students, scholars, and activists from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds to reflect on the role that Marxism can play in psychological theory, research, and practice.

In bringing together scholars at the forefront of research in Marxism and Psychology, we also hope to give new students and activists an opportunity to interact with individuals who have made significant contributions within this area. By organizing an impressive collection of plenary participants, we hope to foster an environment where students, activists, and scholars can identify potential graduate advisors, research assistants, and participatory investigators.

This year, confirmed plenary participants include: John Cromby, Raquel Guzzo, Lois Holzman, Gordana Jovanovic, Joel Kovel, Athanasios Marvakis, Morten Nissen, Ian Parker, Carl Ratner, Hans Skott-Myhre, Thomas Teo

Biographical information for the plenary participants can be found on the conference website.

We welcome submissions for individual papers and panel sessions. For individual papers, please submit an abstract (150-200 words) no later than January 15, 2010. For panel submissions, please include an abstract (150-200 words) for each paper as well as a brief description of the panel (150-200 words). Please submit all materials to Abstracts should either be in the body of the email or sent as an attachment (DOC or PDF format).

While the conference poster is available at the conference website, we also have color posters that need to be distributed widely. If you are interested in receiving some posters, please send us an email ( with your mailing address.

For further information, please visit the conference website:


Michael Arfken, PhD. Director, Marxism & Psychology Research Group (MPRG), Department of Psychology, University of Prince Edward Island,,

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