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Luhrmann, T.M. (1998). Partial Failure: The Attempt to Deal with Uncertainty in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy and in Anthropology. Psychoanal Q., 67(3):449-473.

(1998). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 67(3):449-473

Partial Failure: The Attempt to Deal with Uncertainty in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy and in Anthropology

Tanya M. Luhrmann

The paper identifies and tries to explain a style of argument that can be found in recent psychoanalytic writing and anthropological writing. In particular, it seeks to explain why similar styles of argument (which emphasize narration, interpretation, uncertainty, and the professional's incomplete knowledge of the patient or fieldsubject) are presented in these different fields with such different affect. The paper suggests that these differences might arise from the different moral goals of the disciplines and, specifically, from the differences between a clinical and a nonclinical enterprise.

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