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Speaker Series presents Capitalism and Libidinal Economy: Loss and Emancipation with Mariana Hernández Urías.

When: June 01st, 2024 @ 10AM -12PM (PST)

Where: Online. Register here.


Capitalism is not merely the pursuit of profit and wealth but implies a specific rationality that seeks continuous and calculated profit, a return on investment. It is an economic and political system that does not tolerate loss without compensation.

Almost everyone accepts that capitalism has effects of domination on individuals and social groups, but how far does this domination go? And subjection?

If we think that capitalism also has productive effects of formation and subjectivation, wouldn’t this rejection of loss also be inscribed in the constitution of the subject? Wouldn’t something of this economy, that does not accept any residue or waste, pierce the subject at its innermost level?

For psychoanalysis, the experience of loss is inscribed in the subject from the first moment since it is a founding experience of subjectivity and object relation. Freud describes melancholia as a psychic process in which the ego, faced with the loss of a loved object, unconsciously identifies with it, precisely in an attempt not to lose it. Later, in Group Psychology and Analysis of the Ego and The Ego and the Id, Freud depathologizes the process of melancholic identification and places it as a more general mechanism responsible for the formation of the ego and the ego ideal; that is, as a fundamental part of subjectivation. Does this mean the only way to confront loss is to avoid it? 

According to Freud, the way out of melancholia can only be viable if the subject becomes conscious of the experienced loss; such awareness would give way to a work of mourning that would allow the subject to process such a loss. However, there is only an apparent agreement among psychoanalysts about what it means to elaborate mourning and reach its end.

Biography: Mariana Hernández Urías practices psychoanalysis in Mexico City. She has a PhD in Philosophy from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. She co-coordinated the book Pensar Ayotzinapa (Almadía-UNAM, 2018) and has several publications in collective books such as Psicoanálisis, deconstrucción y crítica de lo psicopolítico (akal, 2021) and Lou Salomé: de las consecuencias de que no fuera la mujer quien matara al padre (Navarra, 2024), recently published. She is currently working towards the publication of her work Capitalism and Libidinal Economy. Mourning, Social Bond, Subjectivity.

*Featured art: Antigone in Front of the Dead Polynices (1865), by Nikiforos Lytras.