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Modena, E. (2003). A Critical Psychoanalysis Project. Free Associations, 10(2):245-263.

(2003). Free Associations, 10(2):245-263

A Critical Psychoanalysis Project1

Emilio Modena


We Psychoanalysts are Used, By long experience, to fighting against negative biases; again and again, old and new prejudices from the most varied ideological angles are held against us: whereas, in the past, we were accused of pansexualism to try and discredit us and alarm the public, we are now — in the age of repressive desublimation — being accused of a lack of efficiency and sustainability. It would be tempting, for fear of losing patients to rival therapies and the interest of the public to more obliging theories, to ‘close ranks’ and escape to a defensive position. In such a position, however, it would hardly be possible to discuss our internal contradictions openly and further our science in a self-critical manner. Instead, I would advocate going on the offensive and adopting a critical attitude, and would like to initiate, right now, at the transition to a new millennium, an analysis of a positive bias towards psychoanalysis. I am convinced that working over its prerequisites and consequences can promote our presence in society and only enhance our resistance to our adversaries left and right.

I can say that I — like many of my generation — grew up with such a positive bias. In my family, psychoanalysis was seen as a progressive and emancipatory science that had countered the puritanism of the early years and the double standards of a decadent society with the exploration of the unconscious motors of behaviour and sexual enlightenment.

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