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Dr David Kaposi

Profile summary

Professional biography

I am a Senior Lecturer in Psychology and an experienced psychodynamic therapist working in private practice. In line with this, my teaching and research activities take place at the intersection between social psychology and psychotherapy/counselling, with my interest lying in the broad issue of how human beings relate to each other. I am also a member of the Psychotherapy and Counselling Research Group as well as the Culture and Social Psychology Research Collaborative.


​PhD in Psychology (Loughborough University)

PGDip in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy (WPF/Roehampton University)

MSc in Psychological Science (ELTE, Budapest)

BA in Literature and Linguistics (ELTE, Budapest)


Professional memberships

​British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC)

British Association for Psychotherapy and Counselling (BACP)

Foundation for Psychotherapy and Counselling (FPC)

Research interests

I am presently interested in the relationship between psychotherapy and the social sciences/psychology, looking into both the former's possible contribution to understanding psycho-social phenomena and the latter's elucidation of therapeutic outcome and process.

In addition, I am also looking at Stanley Milgram's (in)famous bedience experiments, with a particular focus on the much-neglected and highly ambiguous role the learner/victim played in the procedure. 

Recent publications

Kaposi, D. (2017). Psychoanalysis and the Social Sciences: Possible relations (2). Paper presented at the "Psychoanalysis in/and Social Science" workshop, 7 October, St John's College, University of Oxford.

Kaposi, D. (2016). Psychoanalysis and the Social Sciences: Possible relations (1) Paperpresented at the "Evidence and Psychoanalysis" panel at the Institute of Advanced Studies' "Evidence on tiral" conference. 16 July, University of Durham.

Kaposi, D. (2017, Early view). The disobedience experiments: Morality, authority and obedience in Stanley Milgram’s account. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour.

Kaposi, D. (2017). The Breakdown of discourse – Post-Holocaust Jewish identity and the Scholem-Arendt correspondence. European Journal of Jewish Studies, 11(1), 85-110.).

Teaching interests

  • Psychoanalysis and social psychology (DD317)
  • Research methods (DE300)
  • Publics and representations (DD801)
  • Psychotherapy and counselling (D241)


Externally funded projects

Milgram and beyond: Towards a psychosocial theory of violence
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01 Aug 202131 Jul 2022ISRF Independent Social Research Foundation

The proposed project has two aims. The first is to re-interpret Stanley Milgram’s “obedience to authority” experiments via the quantitative-qualitative empirical analysis of the largest currently researched data-set of experimental sessions (N=120). The second aim is to expand this re-interpretation towards a general theory of social-political violence. Both aims will draw conceptually and methodologically on psychosocial studies and (object) relational psychoanalysis. The analytic focus of the project is the interpretative framework that Milgram constructed to make sense of his laboratory proceedings: a binary moral scenario where the supposed task of his naïve participants was to choose between the experimental authority, who was instructing them to continue administering painful/lethal electric shocks, and the learner/victim, who was begging them to stop. Many important aspects of the “obedience” experiments are now contested, yet this moral framework remains unchallenged. It continues to reinforce the customary bifurcation of violent acts into wholly bad perpetrators (to be exclusively blamed) and wholly innocent victims (to be exclusively empathised with). Empirically, the present project will contest the validity of the binary framework. It will explore alternative ambiguous, ambivalent and even self-contradictory positions within the experiments: a divided learner/victim appealing to yet undermining a potential ally, and a sadistic experimenter whose effectiveness in authorising violence derives not from explicit instructions to participants but from disengagement from participants’ moral existence. Theoretically, the project will then expand this analysis towards a general account of social-political violence. Drawing on psychosocial and (object) relational psychoanalytic resources, violent (internal and external) relations will be highlighted to challenge the customary bifurcation. This potentially troubling alternative framework will introduce the possibility of violent agents who suffer and victims who are violent, and highlight thus a non-binary reality that is constantly in flux and may undermine our very agency.


The second wave of critical engagement with Stanley Milgram's ‘obedience to authority’ experiments: What did we learn? (2022-06-01)
Kaposi, David
Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 16, Article e12667(6)

Saving a victim from himself: the rhetoric of the learner’s presence and absence in the Milgram experiments (2020-10-03)
Kaposi, David
British Journal of Social Psychology, 59(4) (pp. 900-921)

Brexit and emergent politics: in search of a social psychology (2019-01)
Andreouli, Eleni; Kaposi, David and Stenner, Paul
Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 29(1) (pp. 6-17)

Brexit and emergent politics: Introduction to the special issue (2019-01)
Andreouli, Eleni; Kaposi, David and Stenner, Paul
Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 29(1) (pp. 3-5)

Hope and dread in representing Palestine-Israel: a case study of editorials in the British broadsheets (2019)
Kaposi, David
Critical Discourse Studies, 16(1) (pp. 40-55)

The resistance experiments: Morality, authority and obedience in Stanley Milgram's account (2017-12)
Kaposi, Dávid
Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 47(4) (pp. 382-401)

The Breakdown of Discourse: Post-Holocaust Jewish Identity and the Scholem-Arendt Exchange (2017-04)
Kaposi, David
European Journal of Jewish Studies, III(1) (pp. 85-110)

A proper study of the discourse on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Methodological implications of a large-scale study of the first Gaza war (2017)
Kaposi, David
British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 44(3) (pp. 391-407)

On the possibility of critiquing Israel: The Times’ engagement with Israel’s deployment of white phosphorous during the first Gaza war (2016)
Kaposi, Dávid
Media, War & Conflict, 9(3) (pp. 272-289)

Violence and Understanding in Gaza: The British Broadsheets' Coverage of the War (2014)
Kaposi, Dávid
ISBN : 978-1-137-43949-9 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan

Race, racism, discourse (2017-08-22)
Kaposi, Dávid and Richardson, John E.
In: Wodak, Ruth and Forchtner, Bernhard eds. The Routledge Handbook of Language and Politics. Routledge Handbooks (pp. 630-645)
ISBN : 9781138779167 | Publisher : Routledge