In this book, Bruno Boccara argues that complex and changing psychosocial issues, in particular those related to the societal unconscious, must be assessed and incorporated in public policy analysis through Socio-Analytic Dialogue, a psychosocial approach aimed at understanding and addressing emotional issues surrounding public policies worldwide through empathic dialogue. Taking into account societal level anxieties and defense mechanismsat both the conscious and unconscious levelswhen formulating and implementing policies increases the awareness and understanding of psychosocial issues, and decreases the need, and therefore the likelihood, of societies adopting regressive social defenses.
Covering international topics including research from the United States; Tunisia and the Arab spring; discontent and riots in Chile, Israel, and the United Kingdom; and humiliation in Sub-Saharan Africa, the book identifies how country-level psychosocial dynamics impact public policies, and suggests that policies themselves can become social defenses. Two case studies, firstly on the World Bank and foreign aid, and secondly on Bolivia, illustrate how a deep understanding of psychosocial issues can provide new insights on the functioning of organizations (perverse dynamics) and on a country’s policy choices and economic performance.
Building upon recent work in sociology and psychoanalysis, the book demonstrates that Socio-Analytic Dialogue has the potential to make a significant contribution to understanding worldwide discontent and anxieties.
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About the Author
Bruno Boccara is the founder of Socio-Analytic Dialogue. He has a Ph.D. in Economics and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has worked at the World Bank, UBS, and Standard & Poor’s. He completed his psychoanalytic studies at the NYU School of Medicine Psychoanalytic Institute in New York.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Policies in the Age of Contempt
Chapter 2: Policy Making and its Emotional Underpinning
Chapter 3: Narcissistic Denial in Foreign Aid
Chapter 4: Undoing Traumas in Bolivia
Chapter 5: Understanding the Past; Creating the Future