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Kramer, J. (1997). To the Editor. Am. J. Psychoanal., 57(3):282-283.

(1997). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 57(3):282-283

To the Editor

Jeffrey Kramer, M.D.

“What Postmodernism Can Do for Psychoanalysis: A Guide to the Postmodern Vision” by Lois Shawver is a truly extraordinary article written by a voice on the intellectual scene that we would all do well to listen to. She is not interested in fighting the buzzword battles between epistemologies as she makes clear quite early in this splendid article when she avoids the trap of simply recruiting adherents from the camps of every minority struggling to be heard and attended to.

Take as an example, the postmodern mind responding to numerous often seemingly conflicting internal voices. She comes back to this one several times in her article and approaches it in a variety of ways. Before we know it, we may find ourselves beginning to question whether the streamlined or integrated self of traditional analytic value may not be a bit more homogenized than we had thought, not quite so desirable. The self of the postmodern paralogic dialogue begins to feel more genuine. Who knows where any reader will come out on this or any other of the difficult issues she wrestles with. Shawver has created the conditions and helped us be more comfortable with the tools we will need to think them through.

Shawver is a teacher of unique skills. She doesn't set up straw men. She tells you very straightforwardly how she is conceptualizing modernism, its strengths and weaknesses, and where postmodernism fills in the gaps. She understands full well that postmodernism is built on a modernist base, which is the powerfully coherent and clear direction of her arguments. She is easy to follow. For example, no sooner does she talk about the new language we are going to have to develop to understand this idea, than she tells us the new words we must learn to do it.

Shawver always has one eye on the reader.

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