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Wilson, M. (2003). Psychoanalysis at its limits: Navigating the post-modern turn. Edited by Anthony Elliott, Ph.D., and Charles Spezzano, Ph.D. London: Free Association Books, 2000. 306 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 72(3):826-832.

(2003). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 72(3):826-832

Psychoanalysis at its limits: Navigating the post-modern turn. Edited by Anthony Elliott, Ph.D., and Charles Spezzano, Ph.D. London: Free Association Books, 2000. 306 pp.

Review by:
Mitchell Wilson

This fine volume marks a particular moment in the history of psychoanalysis in the United States. Not only is this a moment in which theoretical pluralism reigns; more important, it is a moment when the philosophical underpinnings of psychoanalysis are laid bare, and laid bare with a certain relish. As Jean Laplanche has argued, the pleasure of theory for theory's sake, the joy of intellectual investigation and argument, is an essential aspect of the psychoanalytic ethos. American analysts have especially shied away from, or had a particular suspicion of, the intellectual currents that have shaped psychoanalysis and from which psychoanalysis draws much of its inspiration. More precisely, analysts have tended to view the contributions from literature, philosophy, linguistics, history, and gender studies as subsidiary to an overarching psychoanalytic perspective, as so much evidence for the validity of that perspective.

With the postmodern turn in psychoanalysis, these disciplines are approached differently. Now psychoanalysis has much to learn from these “human sciences,” as much as these human sciences have to learn from psychoanalytic thought.

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