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Alkazi Theatre Archives

A Bibliographic Listing from the Archive

Art and Politics: Psychoanalysis, Ideology, Theatre

Book: Art and Politics: Psychoanalysis, Ideology, Theatre
Written by: Walter davis
Published by: Pluto Press, 2006

In ‘Art and Politics: Psychoanalysis, Ideology, Theatre,’ Walter Davis explores the complex relationship between art and politics and argues that political theatre has become vulnerable to the very ideologies it should expose. Davis emphasizes on the significance of theatre as an independent and primary form of cognition. He highlights the idea that theatre provides knowledge that is not secondary or irrelevant to politics but rather crucial to the critical
examination of ideas, beliefs, values, and practices.

The first part of the book, ‘The Corrie Controversy’ analyzes the censorship imposed on the play ‘My Name is Rachel Corrie’ and the ideological assumptions surrounding it. It analyzes the withdrawal of the play from a major New York theatre due to political pressure, revealing dubious assumptions from both the right and the left parties, on grounds of the relationship between art and politics. “Ideology sets its traps for those on the left as well as on the right”(p.16). The second part, ‘Ideology: The Heart of the Ulcer’ critically examines various factions of the Left and their ideology and nudges to take a more radical step outside and beyond ideology. The third part, ‘The Way out of the Cave’ makes efforts to show that the aesthetic, the cognitive, and the psychoanalytic are one The author argues that the personal and the political are intertwined, challenging the tendency of many on the left to dismiss the exploration of inner consciousness as irrelevant or self-indulgent. The author exerts that embracing emotional and psychological courage allows one to transcend ideological barriers and gain genuine and profound realities of the human experience.

“My purpose, in contrast, is to show how psychoanalysis remains true to itself… Understood properly, psychoanalysis, like theatre, is the most dangerous threat to all of our collective illusions. Our job is to restore it to that dignity.” (p. XII)

Art and Politics- Psychoanalysis, Ideology, Theatre