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Gondar, J. (2017). Trauma and Subjectivity: A South American Perspective. Am. J. Psychoanal., 77(1):1-6.

(2017). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 77(1):1-6

In These Pages…

Trauma and Subjectivity: A South American Perspective

Prof. Jô Gondar, Ph.D.

Is there South American psychoanalysis?

I believe that it would be too simplistic to qualify the diversity in the field of psychoanalysis on a purely geographical basis, considering the frontiers of each continent or each country. Nevertheless, one can identify differences in the reception, the inflection, and in the privileged aspects of the theory and analytical practice in distinct regions of the world. There are basic concepts and principles in psychoanalysis, but they acquire individual characteristics upon landing in each place.

What causes these differences? In order to explain them—especially considering the Latin American region—Jacques Derrida proposed the term Geo-psychoanalysis. With it he intended to refer to the many areas of psychoanalysis, that is, the diverse configurations that the Freudian theory presents in the planet. These configurations do not distinguish themselves because of the mentalities of each country or continent, and not even to their linguistic and cultural peculiarities. What established the differences between them was the dynamic that was used when psychoanalysis was implanted and grew in each region. This dynamic involves the interlacing of historical, cultural, social and political factors, opening different pathways to the introduction and the dissemination of psychoanalytic theory and practice.

Thus, while in the United States psychoanalysis found an entrance through psychiatry, gaining power in its relation with health and welfare, in France there were conditions for it to penetrate, from the start, in several sectors of cultural life. And while in the United States it was able to expand, more recently, in the setting of counter-culture movements (such as the claims of feminists and homosexuals, among other minorities), in Germany


Jô Gondar Ph.D., is Full member of Círculo Psicanalítico do Rio de Janeiro; Full professor of Postgraduate Studies in Social Memory at the Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Address correspondence to Prof. Jô Gondar, Rua General Cristóvão Barcelos 24 ap. 701, CEP 22245-110, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; e-mail:

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