"Frantz Fanon and revolutionary group praxis"
Frantz Fanon was a political revolutionary, and he remains a key intellectual figure in decolonisation debates and postcolonial studies. He was also a psychiatrist, continuing to practice, teach and explore new forms of community mental health and groupwork even in exile. In this talk, I explore convergences between Fanon’s institutional psychotherapy and group analysis to indicate how Fanon’s geopolitically-situated psychosocial analyses linking individual and social change can inform more politically engaged group analytic practice. More specifically, Fanon’s observations on language and power highlight how histories and legacies of colonialism infuse everyday interaction, structuring both relationships and bodily experiences. I argue that his insistence on the need to engage with power and privilege, and the ethical-political responsibilities of the therapeutic practitioner in mobilising their own practice to acknowledge and challenge these, remain acutely relevant to current group analytic practice.
Erica Burman is Professor of Education, Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (where she was awarded an Honorary Lifetime Fellowship In 2016), and a Group Analyst in the U.K. She trained as a developmental psychologist, and is well known as a critical developmental psychologist and methodologist specialising in innovative and activist qualitative research. Erica co-founded the Discourse Unit (www.discourseunit.com ) a transinstitutional, transdisciplinary network researching the reproduction and transformation of language and subjectivity. Erica's research has focused on critical developmental and educational psychology, feminist and postcolonial theory, childhood studies, and critical mental health practice (particularly around gender and cultural issues). She currently leads the Knowledge, Power and Identity research strand of the Education and Psychology research group at Manchester Institute of Education.
She is author of Fanon, education, action: child as method (Routledge, 2019), Deconstructing Developmental Psychology (Routledge, 3rd edition, 2017), Developments: child, image, nation (Routledge, 2008, 2nd edition in progress), and is an Associate Editor of the SAGE Encyclopaedia of Childhood and Childhood Studies (forthcoming).