Derek Hook is a scholar and a practitioner of psychoanalysis with expertise in the area of critical psychology and psychosocial studies. His research interests essentially converge on the theme of ‘the psychic life of power', and his publications tend to take up either psychoanalytic, postcolonial or discourse analytic perspectives on facets of contemporary post-apartheid South Africa. His lecturing over recent years has reflected this diverse set of interests; he has offered classes and seminars on: Frantz Fanon and formations of (post)colonial racism; Steve Biko and Black Consciousness; Freud's mass psychology; discourse analysis and psychoanalysis as critical reading methodologies; Slavoj Žižek and the role of fantasy and jouissance in ideology.
Derek is currently completing a book exploring the psychosocial dimensions of Lacanian psychoanalysis, tentatively entitled ‘Five Moments in Lacan'. His most recent work has taken a biographical turn. It aims to explore, via various psychosocial perspective and the techniques of narrative non-fiction, what the life of Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, the great Pan-Africanist intellectual and opponent of apartheid, means for today's South Africa.
Derek began his academic career as a lecturer in psychology at the University of the Witwatersrand in 1999. In 2004 he took up a post at the London School of Economics, where he lectured in Social Psychology until 2011. This was followed by three years in the Department of Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck College. Between 2007 and 2013 Derek was a trainee in the psychoanalytic training programme of the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research in London. He won an Independent Social Research Foundation Fellowship grant in 2013 for a project entitled ‘Post-apartheid libidinal economy'. In the same year he received a Mellon Award and became an Invited Distinguised Scholar at the University of Pretoria, where he is an Extraordinary Professor in Psychology.