Media Practice and Everyday Agency in Europe

Title chapter: Participation as a Fantasy: A Psychoanalytical Approach to Power-Sharing Fantasies
Author: Nico Carpentier
Keywords: Participation, Psychoanalysis, leadership, homogeneity
Abstract: This chapter wants to contribute to the theoretical debates about participation (and deepen them) by taking a slightly unusual path, through use of the psychoanalytical concept of fantasy. In this article it is argued that the impossibility of reaching Pateman's (1970) notion of full participation should not be the end point of this theoretical debate, but can be translated into reflection on the generative powers of the (maximalist) participatory fantasy. We should at the same time acknowledge that this (maximalist) participatory fantasy is affected by a series of other fantasies, including the closely related (and reinforcing) fantasy of agency and freedom, and the more counteracting fantasies of homogeneity and unity, and of leadership and the societal centre.
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