Emancipation and the Ungovernable Self: Psychoanalytic Therapy and Agamben’s Inoperativity

Ryan LaMothe


This article depicts the emancipatory element of psychoanalysis in light of Giorgi Agamben’s philosophical notions of inoperativity and the ungovernable self. It is argued that for some patients good-enough psychoanalytic psychotherapy is a process that invites inoperativity with respect to social, political, and economic beliefs and values that undermine public-political self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-respect, which are integral for civic agency and civic trust necessary for  speaking and acting together in the polis. In brief, the process of psychoanalytic therapy can give rise to an ungovernable self, relatively free of the hegemonic grammar of the society’s disciplinary regimes. While the consulting room is entwined with the political, it is potentially an emancipatory process that gives rise to ungovernable selves.


Apparatuses, Bondage, Economics, Emancipation, Freedom, Inoperativity, Politics, Ungovernable Self

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1234/fa.v0i80.367

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