Gilbert Simondon and the Transindividual Unconscious

Authors: Andrew Lapworth*, University of Bristol
Topics: Cultural Geography, Geographic Thought
Keywords: Simondon, Unconscious, Affect, Transindividual, Literature, Jung, Freud
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Marriott Ballroom Salon 2, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In L’Individuation Psychique et Collective, Gilbert Simondon (2007) stages a critical engagement with Freudian psychoanalysis which, albeit brief, nonetheless has important transformative implications for how we might think the unconscious today. Simondon’s characterisation of the affective-emotive dimension of the unconscious in this text is meant to be explicitly anti-Freudian and chiefly intended to counter not only the psychoanalytic topography of the psyche, but, just as importantly, the hylomorphic metaphysics that has accompanied its conceptualisation in psychoanalytic theory. Thinking with and beyond Jungian psychoanalysis, Simondon presents a thought of the ‘unconscious’ not as an already-individuated substance or entity but instead as a metastable process of individuation. This paper draws out two key implications of Simondon's philosophy for contemporary geographical understandings of the unconscious. First, I highlight how Simondon takes us beyond the psychoanalytical fixation on negativity and repression through his understanding of the transductive character of unconscious forces and their imbrication in the creation of new forms of life. Second, I explore how Simondon’s concept of the ‘transindividual’ opens up new possibilities for thinking the relation of thought to its outside.

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