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Wolfenstein, E.V. (1990). Inside the Leviathan. Free Associations, 1T(19):124-134.

(1990). Free Associations, 1T(19):124-134

Inside the Leviathan

E. Victor Wolfenstein

The Politics of Psychoanalysis: An Introduction to Freudian and Post-Freudian Theory by Stephen Frosh. Macmillan Education, 1987. 290 pages, £6.95 pb

At its birth, psychoanalysis was a theory of repressed sexuality. It was also a critique of sexual repression in an age of sexual repression. One could say with Rousseau, ‘Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains’ (Rousseau, 1762, 1974, p. 5). The emancipatory implications of psychoanalysis seemed clear. One could even go beyond liberal conceptions of freedom. Sexual liberation could be seen as complementary to the Marxist aim of liberation from economic exploitation. Psychoanalysis gave added meaning to the idea of an association in which the ‘free development of each [individual] is the condition for the free development of all’ (Tucker, 1978, p. 491). But after Freud's introduction of the Todestrieb (the death-drive) in Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920) the political picture darkened. Man now appeared as a wolf to man — or to himself. Tormented by the pressure of destructive impulses, the individual had virtually no choice but self-destruction or the destruction of others.

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