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Roazen, P. (2006). The Creation and Social Transmission of Psychoanalytic Knowledge: Commentary on Richards. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 54(2):389-395.

(2006). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 54(2):389-395

The Creation and Social Transmission of Psychoanalytic Knowledge: Commentary on Richards Related Papers

Paul Roazen

Those of us who have spent our lives largely within academic institutions have to be appreciative of efforts, like those of Arnold Richards, to expand the horizons of organized psychoanalysis. But universities are not themselves exempt from many of the same cultural pressures that affect organizations set up for the training and transmission of psychoanalysis, and are also subject to the disparity between glittering historical ideals and disappointing concrete realities. And valuable insights from the sociology of knowledge are as relevant to understanding academic life as to psychoanalysis.

In keeping with Freud's unusual penchant for reminding readers about landmarks in the development of his work, psychoanalysts have displayed a special and abiding interest in the past literature of their field. Professional papers regularly rehearse the previous literature on the subjects being discussed. From my own perspective as a student of intellectual history, however, old controversies have a way of getting sacrificed, through being truncated, for the sake of today's needs; and therefore the fullest possible scope of the history of ideas has a way of losing out to the immediate demands of contemporary crises.

Let me move immediately to the issue of A. A. Brill's central part in the American reception of psychoanalysis, since this is of special concern to Richards.

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