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Eizirik, C.L. (1997). Psychoanalysis And Culture: Some Contemporary Challenges. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 78:789-800.

(1997). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 78:789-800

Psychoanalysis And Culture: Some Contemporary Challenges

Cláudio Laks Eizirik

The evolution and current usage of the concept of culture is briefly discussed. Two divergent views on the initial relationship between psychoanalysis and culture are presented and the influence of the former on the latter illustrated, both in the previous decades and at present. Some general aspects of present-day western culture are then outlined, among them the great flood of information, the culture of narcissism, the temptations of conventionality, the ideology of visual media and the ‘light culture’, and five propositions that attempt to characterise ‘post-modern sensibility’. Finally, four challenges faced today by psychoanalysis are discussed: the changing nature of philosophical and cultural cross-currents as it influences psychoanalysis as a discipline; the empiricist versus the hermeneutic approach; attacks on psychoanalysis as an elitist discipline and profession; and the movement away from the subjectivist and existential concerns and the focus on a more collectivist and pragmatic relationship to reality. The author suggests possible ways to face each of these challenges.

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