Association for Psychosocial Studies (APS) Online Reading Group and Upcoming Events

Association for Psychosocial Studies and the Journal of Psychosocial Studies Online Reading Group


Reanimating the Plague

Lizaveta van Munsteren and Tom Fielder

Special introduction by Silvia Posocco

Friday 26 November 4 – 6pm

Register here:

After a long summer hiatus, we are incredibly happy to invite you to join us at the monthly APS online reading groups where we will be coming together and discussing topical articles drawn from The Journal of Psychosocial Studies.

This month Lizaveta van Munsteren and Tom Fielder will be presenting their article, “Reanimating the Plague”, which is drawn from a special issue of the Journal of Psychosocial Studies on the Covid-19 pandemic. Silvia Posocco will briefly introduce the article, contextualising it within the special issue it is drawn from.

The article is available to download for free here

Abstract: The idea of ‘plague’ has returned to public consciousness with the arrival of Covid-19. An anachronistic and extremely problematic concept for thinking about biopolitical catastrophe, plague nevertheless offers an enormous historical range and a potentially highly generative metaphorical framework for psychosocial studies to engage with, e.g. through Albert Camus’ The Plague and Sophocles’ Oedipus The King. It is moreover a word which is likely to remain firmly within the remit of public consciousness as we move further into the Anthropocene, to face further pandemics and the spectre of antibiotic resistance. A return to plague also opens up the question of a return to psychoanalysis, which Freud is often cited as having described as a ‘plague’. Psychoanalysis is, like plague, a troubling and problematic discourse for psychosocial studies, but, like plague, it may also help us to work-through the disorders and diseases of Covid-times. In fact, if the recent pandemic has reanimated the notion of plague, the plague metaphor may in turn help to reanimate psychoanalysis, and we suggest some of the analogical, even genealogical resonances of such an implication.

All registered attendees should receive a link to join a Zoom call when registering for the event. A reminder email with the link will also be sent out the day of the event.

Author biographies:

Lizaveta van Munsteren (Zeldzina) is a psychologist with many years of clinical experience both in private practice and institutional settings. She completed her education in Russia and in the UK and currently is a PhD candidate at Birkbeck, University of London. Her research is dedicated to the vicissitudes of psychoanalysis in Soviet Russia 1930-1980. Apart from her clinical practice experience, Lizaveta is PGTA at UCL and TA and Associate Lecturer at Birkbeck, University of London.

Tom Fielder is a PhD researcher in Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck. His research engages psychoanalysis, history, literature and politics, and is focused on the question of how to think about Brexit. He has published academic articles in History of the Human Sciences and the Journal of Psychosocial Studies.

Dr Silvia Posocco is a social anthropologist with interdisciplinary research interests in gender and sexuality studies and violence, conflict and genocide studies. She have studied ethnographically insurgent movements in Guatemala, the archives of transnational adoption across sites and temporalities, and most recently, forensic archives, bioinformation and cultures of evidence.

Previous Events:

Study Group Convenor: Association for Psychosocial Studies (APS) / Journal of Psychosocial Studies

Please join us for our monthly online reading groups where we will be coming together and discussing topical articles drawn from the Journal of Psychosocial Studies.

These reading groups are free to attend and open to all. You will need to register via the Eventbrite link. All registered attendees will be sent a link to join a Zoom call before the event.



  • 17th 10am – 2pm: Bion, the Curiosity Drive and Inquisitive Thinking. An on-line workshop offered in partnership with Institute of Group Analysis (London), with Philip Stokoe. Chaired by Dr Rachel Gibbons. Register here.
  • 30th 4pm – 6pm: APS Reading Group: Book Launch, Nigel Williams’ Mapping Social Memory: A Psychotherapeutic Psychosocial Approach Register here.


The past five years have been marked by a growing visibility of the threat posed by the extreme Right and the global birth of the so-called manosphere and the Alt-Right movements.

To address these pressing issues requires a psychosocial approach, that is an approach that is able to analyse both unconscious and subjective micro-fascist formations as well as the way in which micro-fascism scales up and infects social bodies.

Drawing on psychoanalysis, schizoanalysis and affect theory, this webinar will examine the growth of contemporary fascisms, the role digital media plays in their propagation and how online extremism manifests as offline violence.

In this webinar, Anthony will share his work on: “everybody wants to be a fascist online: Schizoanalysis and the Alt-Right”, and Jacob on “Incels and Fantasies of Destroying/Desiring the Other”.


  • Thursday, 10th 3.30-5.30pm: Psychoanalysis, Culture and Religion in Times of Conspiracy Theories and Fake News with Peter Tyler, Mark Murphy, Jacob Johanssen, Anthony Faramelli. Hosted in partnership with St Mary’s University

Psychoanalysis, Culture and Religion in Times of Conspiracy Theories and Fake News

We live in a time that is characterised by increasing political polarisation, fake news, conspiracy theories and other forms of extremism. Social media such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram are often characterised by misogyny, sexism and racism and as lacking in empathy, compassion and love.
This seminar will explore what role psychoanalysis in combination with religion can play in analysing such phenomena, as well as finding possible solutions for them. Recent political developments, such as the Trump presidency, have been credited with an increase in political paranoia and conspiracy theories have spread far and wide on the internet. Contemporary forms of conspiracy thinking, such as QAnon, have led to the establishment of communities which, to a degree, have quasi-religious characteristics.

This seminar asks how our contemporary age can be analysed through the prism of post-Freudian psychoanalysis and religious studies. Do we need a new form of spirituality? What can a psychoanalytic understanding of religion offer in analysing the phenomena described above? What can psychoanalysis and religion learn from each other in the present moment? How do religious understandings of hope, love and compassion figure in times of seeming uncertainty, mistrust and fantasies?

Register here


Peter Tyler (St. Mary’s University): Nietzsche and his Influence on Freud and Jung

Mark Murphy (St. Mary’s University): Freud, Lacan and their Approach to the “Mystical”

Anthony Faramelli (Goldsmiths): The Alt-Right and Religion: The Death Drive in American Evangelicalism  

  • Please note there will be no reading group this month


  • Association for Psychosocial Studies annual conference: Psychosocial Bodies, July 1, 2,3,9 and 10th hosted in partnership with University of Essex. Click here for more information
  • 23rd 4pm – 6pm: APS Reading Group: TBC
Nini Fang
Author: Nini Fang