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RECEPTION OF PSYCHOANALYSIS / Vol. 57, No. 4 (Winter 1990)

Arien Mack, Editor
James Walkup, Guest Editor

James Walkup
Editor’s Introduction

Ted Winslow
Bloomsbury, Freud, and the Vulgar Passions

This article discusses the way Sigmund Freud's psychoanalysis influenced the political ideas of Maynard Keynes and Leonard Woolf, members of literary group Bloomsbury. The Bloomsbury spirit was coined by the author to refer to the appropriations made by Keynes and Woolf of Freud. This concept was comprised of three elements: anti-Victorianism, G. E. Moore's ethics and belief in the importance and danger of irrationality. These elements predisposed Bloomsbury to a sympathetic reception of Freud. The main emphasis in Woolf's political writing is on the role of communal psychology in the determination of political events. By communal psychology, he means the ideas, beliefs and emotions of individuals regarding the community of which they form. On the other hand, Keynes also gave an important role to ideas and ideals in the determination of economic and political events.

Suzanne R. Kirschner
The Assenting Echo: Anglo-American Values in Contemporary Psychoanalytic Developmental Psychology

This article examines the cultural borrowing of psychoanalytic theory by the cultures of the US and Great Britain. The relationship between culture and psychological theory is demonstrated by the dynamics of the borrowing of a psychological theory. By cultural borrowing, it means the process by which a theory is transplanted from one culture to another and gradually comes to assume a form congruent with the host culture's ideologies, concerns and values. And since Sigmund Freud's theory is continually revised, it can be claimed that his texts are shot through myriad cultural discourses, both esoteric and ethnopsychological. This helped facilitate the development of psychoanalysis into multiple psychoanalyses. Psychoanalytic theorists in the US and Great Britain have participated in this selective reading and interpretation of earlier psychoanalytic texts.

Jean Cournut
Psychoanalysis in France: Act III

This article discusses the three periods of practice of psychoanalysis in France. The reception of psychoanalysis by the French people has made it an important media and cultural phenomenon. However, this trend has suffered various setbacks and is undergoing a recession. French society has assimilated psychoanalysis and now, the society is divided between people who are no longer curious about psychoanalysis and practitioners and active sympathizers. In 1950, psychoanalysis is a minor cultural event. It is equally ignored and encountered hostility in medical schools and hospitals. The psychosociological aftermath of Nazi and of Hiroshima has prompted the transmission of Sigmund Freud's doctrine as the training of young analysts multiplies impact points in institutional spaces like mental hygiene clinics and specialized centers for the treatment of children's psychological troubles.

Martin A. Miller
The Reception of Psychoanalysis and the Problem of the Unconscious in Russia

This article assesses how Russia received psychoanalysis during the time of altered social and psychological identities. Psychoanalysis emerged in Russia in the decade preceding the 1917 revolution against a backdrop of unparalleled political upheaval and cultural experimentation. A similar revolt was at work in the psychiatric division of the medical world, which created the need to find a theory to deal with the mentally ill. The search for a new formulation came from without and the fascination with Sigmund Freud's theory was but a phase in the relationship of Russian discipleship to German cultural theorists. The author contends that what began before 1917 as a predominantly clinical phenomenon with political undertones was transformed after the revolution into a primarily political-ideological phenomenon in which the clinical dimension was thrust into a secondary position.

Nancy Caro Hollander
Buenos Aires: Latin Mecca of Psychoanalysis

This article deals with the emergence of psychoanalysis in Buenos Aires, Argentina. During the Spanish colonial period, Buenos Aires emerged as Latin America's most cosmopolitan capital dominated by the representatives of the country's oligarchy. By the turn of the twentieth century, most of the city's inhabitants were foreign-born. Its culture was textured by the immigrant experience. But a military coup in 1930 has made the politics in the presidential palace a blend of fascistic and anti-Semitic ideas. This forced the Argentine culture to adjust to the abrupt halt in the immense flow of immigration and foreign capital. Psychoanalysis made its appearance in Buenos Aires during these times. There had been an interest in psychology and psychoanalysis among social scientists and philosophers since the turn of the century, especially from 1923 on following the translation into Spanish of the complete works of Freud.

Christiane Hartnack
Vishnu on Freud's Desk: Psychoanalysis in Colonial India

This article focuses on the early reception of psychoanalysis in India. While the central psychoanalytical techniques like free association and dream analysis were applied in British India, psychoanalysis as a therapeutic method and as a cultural theory was not easily received in a culture with philosophical and scientific traditions and religious beliefs quite distinct from those of Central Europe. The early Indian psychoanalysts and their clientele grew up in joint families with several mother and father figures, where complex communication patterns with varying kinds of power over and emotional importance for the child prevailed. Further, the formative cultural images often linked with family dynamics in psychoanalytic theory were quite different in these two settings.

Yasuhiko Taketomo
Cultural Adaptation to Psychoanalysis in Japan, 1912–52

This article discusses the reception of psychoanalysis in Japan during 1912–1952. For Japan, the arrival of psychoanalysis in the country is included in the series of receptions from abroad. The period 1912-1952 falls at the start of the mid-phase of the modern period in Japan, whose onset can be dated from either the 1853 arrival of the letter of US President Millard Fillmore pressuring Japan to end its period of seclusion or from the 1868 Meiji Restoration. By 1890, Japan became a nation of the emperor system, which provided the political and cultural backdrop for the 1912 entry of psychoanalytic ideas. Historically, the reception of trends has been determined by the nature and degree of conflict with the emperor system. While the reception of psychoanalysis can hardly be regarded as an ideology dangerously inimical to the emperor system, voices from reactionary oppression were heard against psychoanalysis.

Sander L. Gilman
Anti-Semitism and the Body in Psychoanalysis

This article considers the Jewish roots of psychoanalysis. The biological nature of the Jew helped form and frame structures and rhetoric of psychoanalysis. For Jewish American historian Peter Gay, the Jewishness of psychologist Sigmund Freud has nothing to do with psychoanalysis. To prove this, he uses religious, ethnic and political definitions of the Jew and demonstrates Freud's distance or at least his ambivalence to them. But writer Janet Malcolm, in her review of Masud Khan's book The Long Wait and Other Psychoanalytic Narratives, noted that Freud may have drawn on models of rabbinical self-effacement and unpretentiousness for his understanding of the character of the analyst. The fin-de-siècle image of the Wunderrabbi is an incomplete characterization of the rabbi in Freud's time. But Jewish for fin-de-siècle science has primarily a biological meaning and according to it, a Jew can never truly cast off one's Jewishness.

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