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Stensson, J. (2013). Kultur und Psyche: Psychoanalyse im Dialog mit nicht-westlichen Gesellschaften. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 22(2):129-130.

(2013). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 22(2):129-130

BOOK REVIEW

Kultur und Psyche: Psychoanalyse im Dialog mit nicht-westlichen Gesellschaften

Jan Stensson

Kakar, S. Kultur und Psyche: Psychoanalyse im Dialog mit nicht-westlichen Gesellschaften [Culture and Psyche: Psychoanalysis in Dialogue with non-western Societies]. Psychosozial-Verlag: Giessen, 2012.

In this book, Kakar has collected eight essays ranging over the period from 1985 to 2010. The subtitle of the book gives a more precise direction for what it is about: “Psychoanalyse im Dialog mit nicht-westlichen Gesellschaften” [Psychoanalysisin dialogue with non-western Societies].

Kakar is in an exceptional position to discuss this issue. He is Indian by birth and a practicing psychoanalyst in India, having received his psychoanalytic training at the Sigmund Freud Institute in Frankfurt. He has been guest professor at Harvard and Chicago in the USA, McGill in Canada, Melbourne in Australia, and Hawaii. He is a fellow of the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton and the Wissenshaftskollegium Berlin. In 2005, the French newspaper Le Nouvel Observateur named him “Psychoanalytiker of Civilizations” and “one of the 25 Master thinkers of the world.”

In the first essay, Kakar depicts his own journey as an Indian in the psychoanalytic world. When I started reading, I did not expect to find anything that would touch the basic tenets of psychoanalytic theory and practice. I was wrong. In a gentle way, Kakar juxtaposes psychoanalytic thinking and theory as it began and evolved in Western cultures, and what happens in its meeting with Indian culture.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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