Workshop "Zwischenraum: Psychoanalyse und Mystik bei Michel de Certeau", 11.11.2017

On November 11th, 2017, the research platform RaT hosted a workshop on “A Gap: Psychoanalysis and Mysticism in Michel de Certeau“ (Zwischenraum: Psychoanalyse und Mystik bei Michel de Certeau) in collaboration with Martin Eleven. The event was dedicated to Michel de Certeau, an author who has not been taken notice of to the same degree as other poststructuralist thinkers have in the German-speaking parts. Simultaneously, this was an attempt to go beyond a reception of Certeau's work that focuses purely on its relevance for cultural sciences and neglects its theological contents. Instead the idea was to widen the usual mode of reception through philosophical and theological contributions. Psychoanalysis and mysticism were central to this approach since their relatedness was not least reflected in Certeau's Mystic Fable. There psychoanalysis and mysticism were studied as spheres in which our fantasies of omnipotence collapse, where the question of the Other remains open and the „I“ is exposed as a distortion of the human.

The workshop was inaugurated by Georg Gröller (Wiener Arbeitskreis für Psychoanalyse; Forschungsgruppe stuzzicadenti; Neue Wiener Gruppe (Lacan Schule))who by introducing Lacan – and especially Lacan's later reflections on mysticism – presented the psychoanalytic theory that can be considered as the basis of Certeau's crossovers between psychoanalysis and mysticism.

Subsequently, young researchers held presentations on various aspects of Certeau's work. They focused on those points of contact of his thought relevant to philosophy, theology and politics. The spectrum of its links to philosophy emerged from the many references present in Certeau's work itself and extended from his interpretation of Nicholas of Cusa (Julius Günther) up to overlaps with his contemporary Derrida (Daniel Kuran). The relevance of Certeau for the current theological discourse was not least pointed out by Isabella Bruckner's reflections of the „Body as the Site of Invocation“ (Der Leib als Ort der Anrufung). Thus not only Certeau's impact on Jewish and Christian theological categories was explored but also cross references to Islam through a contribution on Certeau and Ibn Arabi (Marlene Deibl). The political potential of mysticism resulting from a Lacanian reading was central to Natalie Eder's exploration of a possible dialogue between Certeau, Agamben and Roudinesco.

The presentations were the result of an ongoing engagement with topics related to psychoanalysis and mysticism in the context of a reading circle (Lesekreis am Fachbereich Theologische Grundlagenforschung ) headed by Martin Eleven for more than a year at the department of Fundamental Theology at the University of Vienna. The workshop was organized and moderated by Martin Eleven.

All Images were provided by Silke Lapina: Silke Lapina is a photographer who specialized on documentaries and portraits. To persue her studies in social and cultural anthropology she moved to Vienna in the year 2014 and currently works at the interface between cultural theory and aesthetics.