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Moreno, J.H. (1995). Psychoanalysis In Argentina. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 43:641-644.

(1995). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 43:641-644

Psychoanalysis In Argentina

Julio H. Moreno

If, when visiting Argentina, you happen to be invited (and you surely will) to one of the lively stylish late night parties that frequently occur in Buenos Aires, no doubt you will have the opportunity to hear numerous conversations in which “psychoanalysis” is one of the major subjects. Moreover, you will surely hear open references to the personal psychoanalysis of the discussants. You may also overhear conversations on psychoanalysis while walking on city streets or while listening to TV or radio programs. Terms derived from psychoanalysis—e.g., repression, acting out, working through, hysteria—have here become household words. The most important newspapers have weekly sections that include news on “psi” subjects, and psychoanalysis is always among them. In short, psychoanalysis is extremely popular in Argentina, where it forms an important part of the cultural heritage.

So much so that in, for example, Buenos Aires or Mar del Plata (a relatively large city and once the beach resort of Argentina) you can drink a coffee in a shop called Sigmund Freud or La Transferencia. A psychoanalyst friend of mine told me the other day that she had gone into a bar in downtown Buenos Aires and was astonished by the menu. On it were Sandwich Sigmund Freud, Sandwich Winnicott, Sandwich Lacan, and so on. “Try the Lacan,” her friend suggested; “it's delicious.” For some unexplained reason my friend felt herself uncomfortably close to being embarrassed; nevertheless, she managed to swallow a Sigmund Freud.

Is this popularization a good or a bad thing for psychoanalysis? Does the spreading of professional knowledge help psychoanalysis or can it produce damage? Tough questions. But whatever the answer, Buenos Aires looks like a good field for studying the problem.

Today in Buenos Aires where nearly 50 percent of Argentinians live and where the population has the highest per capita income, there are two IPA associations—the APA (Argentinian Psychoanalytic Association), with approximately 760 members, and APdeBA (Buenos Aires Psychoanalytic Association), with approximately 310. The latter counts among its members the current President of the IPA, Horacio Etchegoyen.

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