Article

Empathy An Impossible Task? Engaging with Groups in a Troubling Brexit Landscape

Citation

Yates C & MacRury I (2021) Empathy An Impossible Task? Engaging with Groups in a Troubling Brexit Landscape. Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41282-021-00238-0

Abstract
The Brexit referendum produced a tumultuous reminder of the emotional-affective dimensions of political life in the UK. This article attends to affective dimensions in political experience, and the fantasies and identifications that shape engagement within the shifting landscapes of politics and the structures of feeling that underpin them. The article reflects on a project undertaken 2016-2019 in which we convened eight groups of ‘Leavers’ and ‘Remainers’ with an explicit questioning of the place and possibility of ‘empathy’ in the small spaces of a widening political fray. Through detailed thematic analysis of the group experiences and discourses, including personal-reflective accounts from the group conductor, we discuss ‘clusters of preoccupation’ characteristic of these groups and the impossibility of researching empathy within the turbulent psycho-political mood of a Brexit landscape.

Keywords
Brexit; empathy; containment/ failures of containment; groups

Notes
Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Online

Journal
Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society

StatusIn Press
Publication date online31/10/2021
Date accepted by journal21/07/2021
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/33468
ISSN1088-0763
eISSN1543-3390