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Hinshelwood, R.D. (1986). A ‘dual materialism’. Free Associations, 1(4):36-50.

(1986). Free Associations, 1(4):36-50

A ‘dual materialism’

R. D. Hinshelwood

In his daily practice a psychoanalyst is engaged in reducing personal events to psychological explanations. This activity may be highly condemned by socialists, who point to the very evident effects on people of outside influences in the form of reified social forces.

At its most banal, the problem is a fight between psychology and economics for primacy as the correct reductive explanation. This is an unfortunate fragmentation of knowledge arising from the real difficulties in articulating these disciplines.

I had occasion to report a simple correspondence that appears between observations reported by Marx in his youth, and by Melanie Klein, a post-Freudian, almost a century later (Hinshelwood, 1983; 1985). It is most unlikely that Klein was influenced by Marx's original descriptions, which were hardly known at the time she was first making her observations in the 1930s (Marx's 1844 Manuscripts were not published until 1932 and then met with a distinctly cool reception in the frosty Stalinist climate).

Marx's descriptions of the alienation of the industrial worker are strikingly similar to Klein's observations of projective identification in young children in the playroom.

The essential features of projective identification I shall take to be: splitting and projection, depletion and depersonalization, imprisonment, unconscious phantasy, sensuous activity, and reciprocity and control. I shall compare projective identification and alienation in the words of Klein (and followers) and from the early writings of Marx.

i)   Splitting

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