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Jain, A.R. (2014). Journeys to Foreign Selves: Asians and Asian Americans in a Global Era; by Alan Roland Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2011; 250 pp; $34.99. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 95(4):815-818.

(2014). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 95(4):815-818

Journeys to Foreign Selves: Asians and Asian Americans in a Global Era; by Alan Roland Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2011; 250 pp; $34.99

Review by:
Andrea R. Jain

Psychoanalytic literature has always featured an epistemological debate, which revolves around the question of what clinical psychoanalysts or psychoanalytically-inclined scholars can come to know about the inner worlds, that is, the unconscious subtexts that are repressed, dissociated, split off, or not developed, of their patients or subjects respectively. The debate has been complicated in the last few decades as psychoanalysts and scholars have asked whether or not psychoanalysis can be applied as a tool for knowing the inner worlds of those whose cultural identities are not Euro-American. In other words, the debate increasingly attends to the question of whether psychoanalysis can be applied beyond Euro-American cultural contexts or, rather, revolves at its core around Euro-American ethnocentric norms.

Working as a clinical psychoanalyst in the midst of this debate, Alan Roland concluded that psychoanalysis can indeed be applied beyond Euro-American cultural contexts. Yet, Roland adds:

It dawned on me that we [Northern European and North American psychoanalysts] are constantly gauging our patients' associations, reactions, and ways of relating to us and others against a backdrop of what is appropriate or not on a normality/psychopathology continuum. We unreflectedly base these evaluations on our implicit understanding of what goes or does not go within our own 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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