By Celia Brickman

What half does racial distinction play in psychoanalysis? What could be realized whilst contemplating this question from a postcolonial standpoint? during this refined and commanding research, Celia Brickman explores how the colonialist racial discourse of late-nineteenth-century anthropology chanced on its approach into Freud´s paintings, the place it got here to play a covert yet the most important function in his notions of subjectivity. Brickman argues that the typical psychoanalytic notion of "primitivity" as an early degree of mental improvement inevitably incorporates with it implications of an anthropologically understood "primitivity," which was once conceived through Freud -and maybe nonetheless is this present day -in colonialist and racial phrases. She relates the racial subtext embedded in Freud´s idea to his representations of gender and faith and indicates how this subtext types a part of the bigger historicizing development of the psychoanalytic venture. ultimately, she exhibits how colonialist lines have made their approach into the...

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There are, of course, many schools of interpretation within psychoanalysis itself, some of which are in acute opposition to others. They can, perhaps, be loosely encompassed within two broadly drawn tendencies, both deeply woven into its very fabric. The first emphasizes our essential incompleteness and disorientation, the disturbing existence of the alien within what is closest to home, and suggests that the elements of our being are in fundamental conflict with one another. The second emphasizes our desire for coherence and for the containment, if not the resolution, of anxiety and conflict; it suggests that the elements of our being are functional parts of a larger whole and that what is disturbing is contingent rather than elemental.

Susceptible to multiple and contradictory readings that can support a range of political perspectives, psychoanalysis contains the resources to illuminate as well as to reproduce dilemmas of racial difference. 9 Despite its ability to furnish the tools for such emancipatory interventions, however, psychoanalysis remains handicapped by its own ideological blindspots. As critical assessments of the question of gender in psychoanalysis might suggest, Freud’s assumptions concerning race are likely to be reproduced whenever his theories are used unless these assumptions have been explicitly examined and challenged.

The chapter concludes by placing Freud’s work in the context of his position as a Jew in antisemitic fin-de-siècle Vienna, where he repudiated the racist Aryan discourse of his day as part of “the past” in favor of a contemporary and universal scientific culture—while still retaining his Jewish identity. The way psychoanalysis is understood to figure subjectivity and racial difference has, of course, a profound effect on its therapeutics. Authors who have addressed the question of race and psychoanalysis from a textual perspective have not evinced much interest in the clinical scene, whereas those whose primary interest in psychoanalysis is in its clinical application have not paid much attention to the historical contexts of the theoretical constructs that inform that scene.

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