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Minsky, R. (2000). Fragrant theory and the sweet scent of signifiers. Free Associations, 8(1):22-38.

(2000). Free Associations, 8(1):22-38

Fragrant theory and the sweet scent of signifiers

Ros Minsky

Psychoanalysis in the Academic World

In This Paper I want to look at what has happened to psychoanalysis in the academic rather than clinical world, particularly in relation to the psychoanalytic theory taught in arts and humanities departments rather than those which are oriented towards the practice of psychotherapy. Although, in recent years, there has been an intense interest in the body and its cultural construction in academic circles, the idea that our bodies and our early psycho-somatic experience might have any direct, rather than culturally mediated, effect on our identity and culture, has usually been greeted with scepticism or even derision. In this culturalist climate such an idea has been regarded as highly essentialist, that is based on a belief that there is some direct relationship between our biological bodies and our ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ identity, and therefore unthinkable. In many university departments psychoanalysis has come to mean mainly Freudian theory and more specifically, Lacan's seductive development of it. Those who ally themselves with this linguistic version of psychoanalysis are, like Lacan, often unwilling to contemplate the possibility that bodies and biology may have any direct role to play in the production of who we are.

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