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Vinar, M. (1989). Pedro or the Demolition. A Psychoanalytic Look at Torture. Brit. J. Psychother., 5(3):353-362.

(1989). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 5(3):353-362

Pedro or the Demolition. A Psychoanalytic Look at Torture

Marcelo Vinar

This text deals with the life and fate of a Latin American political militant. A friend said to me ‘When one reads this text one does not know whether one is talking about politics or psychoanalysis’. I took this as a compliment. The way these two media are knotted together has inspired these few notes, hoping to stimulate some discussion.

I propose to demonstrate, by giving a concrete history, some interactions between a socio-political process and an individual destiny. In this intermediary zone between a sociological and a psychological discourse we can expect to find an articulation - or a fracture. Their slippery path opens up some possibilities of synthesis, or the dangers of a false reductionism. It is essential to question oneself on the correlation between subjective structures and political ideology. This is true as much for one discipline as for the other.

One needs to question a synthesis, to look for its contradictions, the lies, and the unspoken. On one hand there is the risk that while juxtaposing the heterogenous phenomenon of both disciplines we miss out the specificity of each theory. On the other hand, if we insist on the unity and coherence of each discipline we run the risk of ignoring interactions which although obvious remain problematic.

Caught between a scientific discourse and a militant one, the exchanges are full of simplifications and mystification which hide, through a paranoid deafness, areas of reality which deserve interrogation and reflection in depth.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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