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Layton, L. (2005). Commentary on Roundtable: “Is Politics the Last Taboo in Psychoanalysis?”. Psychoanal. Perspect., 2(2):3-8.

(2005). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 2(2):3-8

Commentary on Roundtable: “Is Politics the Last Taboo in Psychoanalysis?” Related Papers

Lynne Layton, Ph.D.

The roundtable discussion “Is Politics the Last Taboo in Psychoanalysis?,” and the responses to it, made for extremely stimulating reading, some of my favorite psychoanalytic reading of the year (Altman, Benjamin, Geffner, Jacobs, Wachtel, 2004; Samuels, 2004; White, 2004; Dimen, 2004; Geffner, 2004). As an aging New Lefty, steeped in Frankfurt School traditions that blend left-wing social thought and psychoanalysis, I am committed to the idea that the psychic and the social are inextricable. Nothing makes me crazier than to hear someone say that we ought not to bring politics into psychoanalytic theory or practice, for the statement itself is highly political: what it means is Do not disturb the political status quo. As Gramsci wrote (1971), those who make the status quo have the power to pass their ideologies off as “common sense,” while condemning as “political” whatever lies outside the mainstream. Happily for contemporary psychoanalysis, this roundtable takes its place within a burgeoning group of writings on the psychic and the social, a group of writings large enough, in fact, to fill a syllabus.


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