Mr Leslie Chapman

Research project: Right-wing Populism as trauma


My basic thesis is that the growth of right-wing populism (RWP) in Britain over recent years is an expression of cultural trauma.  I'm drawing here particularly upon the work of Jeffery Alexander, and focusing especially on his argument that cultural trauma is a social construction based around a trauma narrative.  Such a narrative has existed, in one form or another, since the end of the Great War.  However, this is a different 'version' of the 'standard' trauma narrative that developed in the wake of the War, which is that of a 'lost (and traumatised) generation.  In this context, RWP has to be seen as a 'counter (trauma)-narrative'; it is a way of embracing such a trauma, and making it the foundation of the narrative itself and the political movements based on it.  I intend to explore this whole idea using a Lacanian psychoanalytic framework, and particularly drawing upon Lacan's theories of the Real and the sinthome.


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'