Race in Psychoanalysis: Aboriginal Populations in the Mind

1st Edition

Celia Brickman

Routledge
Published December 5, 2017
Reference - 264 Pages
ISBN 9781138749399 - CAT# Y328107
Series: Relational Perspectives Book Series

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Summary

Race in Psychoanalysis analyzes the often-unrecognized racism in psychoanalysis by examining how the colonialist discourse of late nineteenth-century anthropology made its way into Freud’s foundational texts, where it has remained and continues to exert a hidden influence. Recent racial violence, particularly in the US, has made many realize that academic and professional disciplines, as well as social and political institutions, need to be re-examined for the racial biases they may contain. Psychoanalysis is no exception.

When Freud applied his insights to the history of the psyche and of civilization, he made liberal use of the anthropology of his time, which was steeped in colonial, racist thought. Although it has often been assumed that this usage was confined to his non-clinical works, this book argues that through the pivotal concept of "primitivity," it fed back into his theories of the psyche and of clinical technique as well.

Celia Brickman examines how the discourse concerning the presumed primitivity of colonized and enslaved peoples contributed to psychoanalytic understandings of self and raced other. She shows how psychoanalytic constructions of race and gender are related, and how Freud’s attitudes towards primitivity were related to the anti-Semitism of his time. All of this is demonstrated to be part of the modernist aim of psychoanalysis, which seeks to create a modern subjectivity through a renegotiation of the past. Finally, the book shows how all of this can affect both clinician and patient within the contemporary clinical encounter. 

Race in Psychoanalysis is a pivotal work of significance for scholars, practitioners and students of psychoanalysis, psychologists, clinical social workers, and other clinicians whose work is informed by psychoanalytic insights, as well as those engaged in critical race and postcolonial studies.

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