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Rudnytsky, P.L. (2002). Preface. Am. Imago, 59(4):385-388.

(2002). American Imago, 59(4):385-388


Peter L. Rudnytsky

As every student of psychoanalysis knows, it was Jacques Lacan who defined the unconscious as “the discourse of the Other” (1954, 379), though I suspect that even many scholars would be hard-pressed to identify the text that is the source of this phrase. Four of the five papers that follow owe more to Jung and Ferenczi than they do to Lacan, but each may be said to illuminate a different facet of his memorable and capacious formulation.

Stephen Frosh, whose paper in the Fall 2001 issue inaugurated my editorship of American Imago, leads off again with “The Other,” a brilliant meditation on how psychoanalysis, as the “only real discipline of the excessive,” has an indispensable contribution to make in fathoming the “causeless hatred” of racism and bigotry that continues to plague the human species. Frosh cites both Lacan and Melanie Klein as theorists whose ideas seem so “breathtakingly mad” that their “continuing existence” can be explained only “as a sign or emblem of the wildness within,” but he draws particularly on the work of Jean Laplanche and Judith Butler to propose that the other is formative of the subject, and hence should be accorded primacy both psychologically and ethically. Intriguingly, Frosh utilizes what might appear to be a relational premise to make a postmodernist argument that the consequent “ex-centric” location of psychic life enriches the subject but also—most notably under conditions of insecurity, oppression, and violence—creates an intense internal disturbance in which hatred of the other, felt to be entwined with the self, has a propensity to emerge.

Joseph Cambray, editor of the Journal of Analytical Psychology, imports the Jungian “other” into a psychoanalytic context in “Synchronicity and Emergence.”

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