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Tuckett, D. (1998). Evaluating Psychoanalytic Papers: Towards the Development of Common Editorial Standards. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 79:431-448.

(1998). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 79:431-448

Evaluating Psychoanalytic Papers: Towards the Development of Common Editorial Standards

David Tuckett

Psychoanalysis has insecure foundations. Many of its core theories and therapeutic principles are contested from both within and without the discipline. While it often has little difficulty embracing new ideas it has terrible trouble rejecting old ones. Typically those within the discipline have dealt with this situation by destructive rationalisation, denial, splitting and idealisation. Foremost is the tendency to multiply schools and paradigms and to rely on rhetoric and argument by authority. It is argued that to counter such inevitably destructive processes we need to find a way of improving constructive engagement with each other and to achieve a discipline that can grow on the secure foundations of gradually accumulating knowledge. Giving examples, the author describes the ongoing development of a methodology for evaluating psychoanalytic papers according to a common standard. It is proposed that it is possible to conduct reasoned international and cross-cultural peer review. This means that we can in principle evaluate and reach agreement as to the merit of psychoanalytic papers even though their authors may have backgrounds in profoundly different local styles and local traditions of argument. Moreover, it is suggested, this can be done without creating the monster of an internationally homogenised style that would numb creativity and original thought.

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