LONDON, 2019: Thinking Through Democracy: A Winnicottian Perspective.

Saturday 9th March, 2019

10:00 am



Dr Amal Treacher Kabesh, Associate Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Nottingham

Thinking Through Democracy: A Winnicottian Perspective.

A morning to reflect on and discuss the contribution of Winnicottian ideas to political discourse – a lecture followed by audience contributions and discussion.

Chair: Adrian Sutton (Director, Squiggle Foundation)


In 1950 Winnicott wrote a paper “Some thoughts on the meaning of the word democracy”. This reflective paper sets out to promote interdisciplinary discourse and to stake a claim for the inclusion of a formulation of intrapersonal and interpersonal dynamics in examining democratic and antidemocratic systems or events. Winnicott proposed that his psychodynamic model of Maturational Processes informs us about the health  not only of individuals but also of communities and nations. This places the consequences, from our earliest life onwards,  of trust fulfilled or trust betrayed, as central to political life and democracy.

Ever a good source of a tantalising and provocative phrase or statement, Winnicott provides two particularly challenging ideas for our current U.K. situation: “[f]or the development of a democracy… it seems that it is necessary that there should be some natural geographical boundary for that society. Obviously, until recently and even now, the fact that Great Britain is sea-bound (except for its relation to Eire) has been very much responsible for the maturity of our society structure” and “[t]he referendum has nothing to do with democracy”.

His ideas are also attracting international attention from clinicians and non-clinicians as their importance in understanding political processes becomes increasingly apparent: recent publications include books from the USA and South Africa.

Our speaker, Dr. Amal Treacher Kabesh, is Associate Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Nottingham. Her research and teaching integrate social and cultural theory and psychoanalysis within a psychosocial studies framework. Identity and its complex formation, with a particular emphasis on gender and ethnicity, are key themes. Citizenship and the inter-relationship between U.K.- Egypt are further interests. Her publications include Egyptian Revolutions: Repetition, Identification, Conflict (2017, Rowman and Littlefield) and Postcolonial Masculinities: Emotions, Histories, Ethics (2013, Routledge).


Doors open at 9.40 a.m.

Squiggle Members £30.00, non-members £35.00, Students & Unwaged £15.00

Enquiries to The Administrator, The Squiggle Foundation

phone – 07717330327, email –

N.B. The nearest underground station is Mornington Crescent (Northern line): the nearest over-ground & mainline stations are at Camden, Kings Cross and St Pancras. There is also a free car park at the hospital.