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Cooper, A. Treacher, A. (1995). Free associations, truth, morality and engagement. Free Associations, 5(1):1-9.

(1995). Free Associations, 5(1):1-9

Free associations, truth, morality and engagement

Andrew Cooper and Amal Treacher

Psychoanalysis, Groups, Politics, Culture. What is the relationship of Free Associations to this constellation of themes and practices announced on its cover? The journal is now ten years old. The purpose of this commentary is to think through the following issues: where did the journal enter, where has it travelled to, and to suggest possible ways forward.

Throughout his collection of essays The Good Society and the Inner World Michael Rustin (1991) argues persuasively for the essentially moral nature of Kleinian and object relations theory and practice. We agree with this position and contend that it matters less whether one designates the psychoanalytic project as ‘political’ or not, than it does to recognise the need ‘to recover some deep and grounded view of the meaning of human life’ (p. 11) and to sustain a commitment to truth rather than illusion, obfuscation, and deception. The inherent complexity of such a project has at least two sources. Firstly, the terrain of enquiry and action which was once conveniently demarcated by oppositions between ‘left and right’, inner worlds and outer worlds, the psychic and the political, has in the last decade become immeasurably more complicated as a whole range of social groups and modes of theorising have problematised questions of power, subjectivity, personal and social identity and their inter-relationships.


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