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The Global Pandemic of Authoritarian Politics: Trump, Modi and the Joker Archetype | Online Lecture by Johann Graaff

July 21, 2020 @ 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM

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There has been a dramatic increase in the number of authoritarian governments across the world in the last 10 years; Russia, China, India, Turkey, Hungary, Philippines, to name the most prominent. The Arab Spring of 2010 has become the Arab Winter of 2014. Donald Trump has all the attributes of an authoritarian, but is limited in his actions by the American constitutional framework. South Africa has itself just come out of a decade of such anti-democratic rule. More distressing has been the degree to which these governments and these leaders have been supported by voters.

And this is the heart of this discussion: why do people vote for Trump or Modi or Zuma, and how do we explain this bizarre phenomenon from a Jungian point of view? Jung himself gives us a start with his discussion, of Germany in 1936, and of the personal impact of Hitler. I suggest there are two versions of the Joker/Trickster archetype at play here, one fighting for democracy and justice often following anarchist principles, the other full of rage, just wanting to burn things down. Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party (BJP) in India is a case of the latter, furious anger spilling over into mob mayhem every now and again.

Our own country has all the ingredients for the return of such dangerous government in the future, a large proportion of the country poverty stricken, unemployed, disillusioned and angry, and very vulnerable to a charismatic leader laying the blame on some scapegoat like ‘monopoly white capital’. And these conditions all significantly aggravated by the COVID crisis.

More about the Presenter:

Johann Graaff is a retired sociologist from UCT, but is now interested in the cross over between Jungian psychology and sociology. He graduated from the CG Jung Institute in Zurich, and has a practice as a Jungian analyst.  He is a member of SAAJA, currently serving on Curriculum Committee.



Live Streaming | Advanced Booking Essential

Please book your Zoom slot by Friday, 17 July. A Zoom link will be provided upon receipt of payment. Send Proof of payment and Preferred Email address to saaja@mweb.co.za

Banking Details

Standard Bank | SAAJA Current Account | Acc #: 072975059 | Rondebosch Branch code: 025009


Note: CPD accreditation under application.


+27 (0)21 689 6090
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