Dr Andrew Dickson

Andrew is an organisational sociologist interested in the health industry. His research uses psychoanalytic and psychosocial theory to explore organisations. Andrew publishes in the fields of public health policy, psychoanalytic theory and management education. He also serves on the international advisory committee for the international journal Critical Public Health.

Andrew loves Muay Thai kickboxing and distance running and in his next life claims he will be a builder. He has a wife who is smarter than he is and two kids who are smarter than her! He has have one smart dog and one not-so-smart dog and claims to have never IQ tested his four guinea pigs. Andrew also claims to have an amazing vegetable garden.

PRESENTATION: The Limits of Mindfulness: On the Ancestral Antecedents of the Death Drive and the Pursuit of ‘Mind’

One of the most recent entries into the armory of the weight loss industry is the Buddhist notion of ‘mindfulness’. The pursuit of conscious ‘mind’ over body is characteristic of the deployment of mindful eating in the weight loss industry and seems to produce results. But are these results what they seem at face value? I will argue that mindful eating strategies fail to understand a critical aspect of self, that is the uncanny and peculiarly pleasurable drive towards the annihilation of the self named the ‘death drive’ by Freud in 1920.

I will argue that it is this intriguing aspect of the human psyche that most of those working in the wider ‘health’ industry spend much of their time fighting against. But what if we were to forge an alliance with the death drive instead of resisting it? Where would that leave mindfulness?

LEARNING OBJECTIVES: 

  • To examine the usefulness or otherwise of mindfulness in the weight loss industry
  • To introduce the concept of the ‘death drive’ and consider its relevance for health practitioners

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