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Malone, K.R. (1997). Psychoanalysis And The Postmodern Impulse. By Barnaby B. Barratt. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993, 262 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 84(6):966-968.

(1997). Psychoanalytic Review, 84(6):966-968

Psychoanalysis And The Postmodern Impulse. By Barnaby B. Barratt. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993, 262 pp.

Review by:
Kareen Ror Malone

Toward the end of Psychoanalysis and the Postmodern Impulse, Barnaby Barratt discusses new horizons in the physical sciences (pp. 216-217). These new horizons challenge many Western assumptions about objectivity and knowledge. Relativity and quantum physics bring into question the previously secure place of the “observer.” We once thought that the “observer” could describe objectively the nature of reality; this was the original promise of science. In light of advances in science and philosophy, the relationship between subject and object is no longer as simple as it once appeared. Barratt notes that these “new sciences,” as he calls them, reformulate questions of method. Issues of method directly implicate questions of discourse (how we symbolize what we know) and of time, i.e., time may not follow a straightforward linear (causal) sequence. At this point, Barratt makes a surprising move by associating the discoveries of these “new sciences” with the method of psychoanalysis. For Barratt, psychoanalysis also has transformed time and discourse, and it is time for psychoanalysis to claim its revolutionary nature as a method.

Psychoanalysis and the Postmodern Impulse is a return to the radicality of psychoanalysis which, in the author's eyes, requires an examination of the unique way that psychoanalysis understands time, discourse, and desire. It is only through an illumination of these most fundamental dimensions of psychoanalytic praxis that one can understand “what makes psychoanalytic talking psychoanalytic” (p.

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