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Radical Science Collective (1984). Editorial. Free Associations, 1A(Pilot):5-7.

(1984). Free Associations, 1A(Pilot):5-7


Radical Science Collective

Free Associations is the 15th in the Radical Science series at the same time that it is the pilot issue of a new journal of the same name with the subtitle: Psychoanalysis, Groups, Politics, Culture.

The need for a journal on the wider cultural relations of psychoanalysis, psychotherapy and psychology has been felt for a long time. Indeed, Free Associations revives a way of thinking about psychoanalysis which was widespread in the pre-World War II period and which has been eclipsed by professionalisation and sectarianism.

The idea for a journal grew out of the work of the Radical Science Collective as part of a wider project, critically to examine science, technology, medicine and other forms of expertise and to make them more accessible and publicly accountable. It has been a central feature of our radical science approach to argue that a space must be made for reflexivity and subjectivity in scientific culture. For it is a consequence of the very scientism which insulates the objects of knowledge from their human sources that a polarisation has occurred between traditional perspectives. That is, Marxism has become the critique of social and economic forces and structures, and psychoanalysis the attempt to reclaim the individual subject. There has been an implicit recognition within both traditions of their limitations — in the attempt to find a subject in Marx's early work on alienation and in the attempt to understand the social resonances of intrapsychic conflicts in psychoanalysis. Both cultures have tried to find ways of expressing the unresolvable conflicts within a whole which gives them meaning and hope.

Many of those politically active in radical and women's politics in the 1960s and 70s have found themselves getting involved with aspects of psychoanalysis, psychotherapy and related matters — some through their own distress, some through having suffered the destructive effects of the psychodynamics of group processes in their political work, many through the psychoanalytic critique of traditional and old left politics. Some professional therapists feel restricted by the lack of a philosophical and broader cultural dimension to their psychoanalytic theory and practice.

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