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Perakyla, A. (2012). Freudin jalanjäljillä [In Freud's Footsteps] edited by Minna Juutilainen, Ari Takalo Teos, Helsinki, 2009; 326 pp; €24. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 93(3):799-801.

(2012). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 93(3):799-801

Freudin jalanjäljillä [In Freud's Footsteps] edited by Minna Juutilainen, Ari Takalo Teos, Helsinki, 2009; 326 pp; €24

Review by:
Anssi Perakyla

The task of this collection is set out in the editors' introduction (p. 15): to present the widespread psychoanalytic thinking in Finnish academia, to make known the various reflections of psychoanalytic thinking in everyday life, and to respond to some of the recent criticisms targeted at psychoanalysis in Finnish public discourse. Thus the editors take up quite a challenge: the book is to serve as an explication of some of the contemporary scholarly uses of psychoanalytic concepts and, at the same time, it is to help in popularizing psychoanalysis and in defending psychoanalysis.

The authors come both from clinical practice and from academic research; a number of them have their feet in both worlds. I should say that the authors and the editors manage rather well the triple task they have taken up. In what follows, I will assess the three tasks - to popularize, to explicate, and to defend - each in turn, starting from the task of popularizing.

The line between good popularization and skilful exposition of theoretical ideas is not very sharp: skilful exposition of ideas may involve also good popularization. While all the contributions of the book speak to non-specialist readers, some of the chapters are particularly successful in conveying core psychoanalytic ideas in a clear and accessible way. Stig Hägglund presents some of the key tenets of the theory of drive, illustrated with extracts from film and literature. Leena Klockars gives an overview of the key developmental theories in psychoanalysis, supported by short clinical vignettes.

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