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Hauke, C. (1997). SAMUELS, ANDREW ‘The politics of transformation/the transformation of politics’, International Journal of Psychotherapy, 1, 1, 1996. Pp. 79-89.. J. Anal. Psychol., 42(3):555-558.

(1997). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 42(3):555-558

SAMUELS, ANDREW ‘The politics of transformation/the transformation of politics’, International Journal of Psychotherapy, 1, 1, 1996. Pp. 79-89.

Review by:
Christopher Hauke

Despite the worldview-shattering discoveries of Freud and Jung, analysis and psychotherapy have taken their place as yet another fragment of modern life, largely cut off from their cultural, philosophical and social roots, and marginalized as a specialism within medicine. There has been a loss and a gain in this trajectory. On the one hand, turning inward to the subjective experience of the psyche in this age of ‘psychological man’ has restored value to inner images, truth to subjective emotional experience and authenticity to the individual in the face of an encroaching ‘mass culture’. On the other hand, the social and political - not to mention the economic - survival of analysis and psychotherapy has required their submission to the capitalist and patriarchal structures they grew up within, and against which they once offered a fulcrum for critical social - as well as personal - analysis. As Samuels puts it, we offered society analysis but society failed to show up for the first session.

We now live in different times. Side-by-side with those who regard modern life and our social, political and economic organization as a ‘given’ - connected with something called ‘human nature’, which both justifies our behaviour and, in an absurd circularity, defines it - there is a growing challenge of far greater reflexivity. Call it radical post-modernism, critical theory, feminism, Green politics, anti-racism or whatever, the reflexive, critical attitude to the way we live and organize life in the industrialized ‘North’ or ‘The West’ is thriving in the margins of the very text it wishes to transform.

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