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Freedman, N. (1995). Introductory Remarks: Conference on “Psychoanalysis and Power” Sponsored by Goethehouse and the New School for Social Research 12/10–11, 1993. Am. Imago, 52(3):239-242.

(1995). American Imago, 52(3):239-242

Introductory Remarks: Conference on “Psychoanalysis and Power” Sponsored by Goethehouse and the New School for Social Research 12/10–11, 1993

Norbert Freedman

In these hallowed halls where post-modernism has reigned for a decade, I shall open this meeting not by reflecting upon deconstruction, but rather upon reconstruction. Deconstruction involves the questioning, even the bashing of precious substantive assumptions. Reconstruction involves the dialogue between assumptions, a process of continuous recontextualization arriving at new symbolic meanings. I believe that this process of reconstruction is aptly illustrated by the significance of this exhibit, but it also, perhaps more cogently, applies to the life work of our opening speaker.

The Hamburg Congress of 1985 was an historic moment in the history of the psychoanalytic movement. It marked the first occasion since the 1932 Wiesbaden Congress of holding such a meeting on German soil. This idea had first been proposed in 1977 in Jerusalem but met with opposition then. As a compromise, Hamburg, the least nazified German city, was selected for 1985.

For those of us who had our roots in German culture, it was a particularly moving experience, for as we walked along the beautiful boulevards, listening nostalgically to the cabaret songs of Weil and Brecht of the 1920s, we could not help but be conscious of the blood beneath the pavement. Many American colleagues chose not to attend, but for those who did, it was a valuable experience.

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