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Tyrer, B. (2015). Psychoanalysis and Politics: Exclusion and the Politics of Representation Edited by Lene Auestad. Pp. 288. London: Karnac, 2012, £24.99.. Free Associations, 16(1):85-90.

(2015). Free Associations, 16(1):85-90

Reviews: Book Review

Psychoanalysis and Politics: Exclusion and the Politics of Representation Edited by Lene Auestad. Pp. 288. London: Karnac, 2012, £24.99.

Review by:
Ben Tyrer

Emerging from the ‘Psychoanalysis and Politics’ research group, Lene Auestad's edited collection, Psychoanalysis and Politics: Exclusion and the Politics Of Representation, brings together a broad range of psychoanalytic approaches to questions of alterity and prejudice in contemporary social formations. Mostly established academics with a grounding in psychology and philosophy and/or practising psychologists and psychoanalysts, the assembled writers draw largely upon various object relations theories (Klein, Winnicott, Bion), but also Lacan, Kristeva, Ferenczi, Fromm and others. Predictably, however, for a collection on psychoanalysis - but perhaps more interestingly for one on politics - the preponderance of references are to Freud, thus insisting (for the most part) on both the continued and renewed relevance of the nineteenth-century Moravian neurologist to twenty-first century global concerns. Together, they make a forceful argument for the progressive potential of psychoanalysis - particularly in the domain of the psychosocial - to lay bare the structures and mechanisms of repression, and the ideological foundations of exclusion in Western society.

Particularly impressive are three chapters at the heart of this book, that are perhaps most grounded in the contemporary, global, political and social realities that we face. First is Jane Frances’ contribution, reporting on her research into attitudes towards people with facial disfigurements, shedding light on the (often unconsciously) different or prejudicial behaviour people can demonstrate when encountering a person with a disfigurement.

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