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Layton, L. (1998). The Primitive as Analyst: Postcolonial Feminism's Access to Psychoanalysis: K. Seshadri-Crooks. Cultural Critique, 1994. Pp. 175-213. Psychoanal Q., 67(2):347.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: The Primitive as Analyst: Postcolonial Feminism's Access to Psychoanalysis: K. Seshadri-Crooks. Cultural Critique, 1994. Pp. 175-213

(1998). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 67(2):347

The Primitive as Analyst: Postcolonial Feminism's Access to Psychoanalysis: K. Seshadri-Crooks. Cultural Critique, 1994. Pp. 175-213

Lynne Layton

Seshadri-Crooks reviews the history of psychoanalysis in India. She argues that the scientistic way the analyst has been defined in the West has made it impossible for a non-Westerner to inhabit that position. Psychoanalytic theory opposes the primitive to the civilized, and its definition of the civilized places high value on monotheism, science, and a version of secondary process inimical to such non-Western practices as polytheism. Women, children, and non-Europeans are relegated to the primitive. Thus, Seshadri-Crooks points to the ways in which psychoanalysis is white, European, secular, and middle class.

Nonetheless, this article does not reject psychoanalysis but rather seeks a position for “others” that would still be psychoanalytic. To this end, she examines the work of Indian scholar Gananath Obeyesekere, who theorizes the relation between the unconscious and cultural systems in non-Western societies. The recognition of other modes of self-awareness and self-reflection yields a revised psychoanalysis that accounts for the nature of power relations between the sexes in India and for the psychic violence wrought by colonialism. Such violence includes the emergence of Indians who distance themselves from their culture by occupying the scientific position they believe is valued by Westerners.

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Article Citation

Layton, L. (1998). The Primitive as Analyst: Postcolonial Feminism's Access to Psychoanalysis. Psychoanal. Q., 67(2):347

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