Psychoanalytic Geopolitics

Authored by: Dany Nobus

Routledge Handbook of Psychoanalytic Political Theory

Print publication date:  September  2019
Online publication date:  September  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138696310
eBook ISBN: 9781315524771
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter probes into Freud’s sparse comments on politics in order to show how his political views and values, which he once designated as ‘flesh-colored’, were carried over into the clinical and theoretical paradigm of psychoanalysis. Even though it may come across as inherently left-wing, individualist and Jewish, it is argued that psychoanalysis has shown itself to be politically versatile and ideologically malleable, which has contributed greatly to its transnational reception and cross-cultural sustainability, albeit in many instances at the cost of some of its most cherished principles. Drawing on examples from Nazi Germany, Russia, Argentina, Brazil, Japan and the Islamic world, the chapter demonstrates that there is no such thing as a Freudian norm, neither theoretically nor clinically. The history, dissemination and occasional prohibition of psychoanalysis show that every nation and every culture has re-created psychoanalysis in accordance with its own values and belief systems. If we do not take the Freudian norm as a benchmark, because it does not exist, then it cannot be said that one country has embraced the more truthful option, precisely because the ‘flesh-colored’ politics of psychoanalysis allows for and encourages this type of malleability.

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