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Elliott, A. (2000). Resistances of Psychoanalysis, Jacques Derrida. Stanford University Press, 1998, $26.95.. Free Associations, 7(4):127-129.

(2000). Free Associations, 7(4):127-129

Resistances of Psychoanalysis, Jacques Derrida. Stanford University Press, 1998, $26.95.

Review by:
Anthony Elliott

An Engrossing Critique of psychoanalysis, a confessional memoir, a tale of intellectual influences, a history of the great twentieth-century love affair with Freudian thought — such is Resistances of Psychoanalysis, a book that is sure to raise the level of debate over the politics of deconstruction several notches. Jacques Derrida, the guru of French post-structuralist theory, traces in the three essays which comprise this book a lineage from Freud to Jacques Lacan to Michel Foucault. Written in a provocative and playful prose, Derrida seeks to uncover the various ambiguities and instabilities of psychoanalysis as a method of interpretation.

What comes through very clearly in Derrida's passionate book is the inherently engaged and sensitive nature of deconstructive thought. For Derrida seeks to widen once again — developing upon arguments in his previous books such as Of Grammatology, Dissemination and The Post Card — the horizons of psychoanalysis to incorporate the problem of writing in relation to society and history. One of the major virtues of the book is its deft articulation of the theoretical arguments surrounding the scientific standing and therapeutic value of psychoanalysis. Derrida does this less through an interrogation of the recent culture wars than by focusing on conceptual revisions of Freud. Not so much resistances to psychoanalysis then, but rather a history of the resistances of psychoanalysis.

Returning to classical psychoanalytic theory, Derrida finds “resistance” at the heart of Freud's ideas, including the unconscious, repression and the Oedipus complex.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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