SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.54 issue2The trauma potential from covid-19 pandemic author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Revista Brasileira de Psicanálise

Print version ISSN 0486-641X


RUSTIN, Michael. The coronavirus pandemic and its meanings.Translated byPaulo Sérgio de Souza Jr. Rev. bras. psicanál [online]. 2020, vol.54, n.2, pp. 25-41. ISSN 0486-641X.

This article examines the meanings of the Coronavirus Pandemic from a perspective which is both socio-political and psychoanalytic. It suggests that the concept of "combined and uneven development” is relevant to understanding the events which are now taking place. This is because the pandemic has brought together the genesis of a new disease in conditions where the interface between society and the natural world is unregulated, but also where modern forms of communication have enabled an unprecedentedly rapid spread of the disease to take place, across the entire globe. Multiple lines of social division are being exposed by the crisis, as social classes, ethnic populations, age groups, women and men, nations and regions are differentially harmed. Contrasting priorities, ideological in origin, are being revealed in governments' response to the virus, in the commitment they give to the preservation of lives compared with other material interests. In a second part of the article, psycho-social dimensions of the crisis are explored. A psychoanalytical perspective focuses on anxieties as these are generated by the extreme disruption and risks posed by the crisis. It is suggested that these are not only conscious but also unconscious, giving rise to destructive kinds of psychological splitting and denial, and disrupting capacities for reflective decision-making. It is argued that a loss of "containing” mental and social structures is now having damaging effects, and that their repair may be the precondition for constructive resolutions of a general social crisis.

Keywords : psychoanalysis; pandemic; psychosocial crisis; cleavage; denial.

        · abstract in Portuguese | Spanish | French     · text in Portuguese     · Portuguese ( pdf )


Creative Commons License