Mr Leslie Chapman

Research project: English culture and the traumatic legacy of the Great War


My thesis explores the idea that in the wake of the First World War two radically different trauma narratives emerged within English culture that tried to come to terms with the events and experiences of 1914-18.  More specifically, I argue that although one such trauma narrative, which stresses futility, loss and disillusionment, continues to dominate the cultural discourse even a century later, there has always been a ‘counter-narrative' that has attempted to ‘restore' a particular version of ‘Englishness' that circumvents the real trauma and loss of the War.  In recent times this ‘counter-narrative' has manifested itself ideologically and politically in the form of the Brexit vote in 2016 and the election of a national populist government in December 2019.  My research utilises a number of key psychoanalytic and related concepts to explore the development of such narrative including trauma, Nachträglichkeit, the Real, nostalgia, and cultural trauma.

  • Research degree: PhD
  • Title of project: English culture and the traumatic legacy of the Great War
  • Other research supervisor: Professor Peter Hallward


My background is in mental health, with particular experience of working with psychosis.  Having worked as a Lacanian analyst in private practice since 2005 I now wish to explore the possibilities of using Lacanian theory ‘beyond the clinic' in order to throw light on a very topical, and in many ways troubling, phenomenon, namely, the rise of right-wing populism.  I have always had a great interest in the concept of applying psychoanalysis beyond the clinical environment, and in 2011 I began to develop this interest through blogging, using Lacan's concept of the Real as the underlying theme. Throughout my clinical work I have always had a particular interest in trauma, and how it links to the concept of the Real. 

Areas of research interest

  • The 'later' Lacan
  • Right-wing populism
  • Trauma
  • Ideology and discourse
  • Psychosis
  • Politics, culture and psychoanalysis
  • Theories of history
  • Theology and psychoanalysis


  • BA (Hons) Applied Social Science, Kingston Polytechnic
  • MSc Sociology, Southbank University


Chapman, L. (2012, February) 'Stress in the City', Therapy Today, 23, 1  Available at

Chapman, L.  (2008) ‘How does "the State" regulate?'  In Parker, I. (2008). Psychoanalytic Practice and State Regulation. London: Routledge.

Chapman, L. (2012), ‘Evidence‐Based Practice, Talking Therapies and the New Taylorism'. Psychotherapy and Politics International, 10: 33-44

Conference papers

Psychoanalysis and State Regulation Conference, London, 2006.  Paper: Psychoanalysis: part of the problem or the solution?

Psychotherapy and Liberation Conference, London, 2008.  Paper: Is the Personal Political?

Psychotherapy and Politics Conference, Glasgow, 2009.  Paper: Rethinking the ‘Political'