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Robertson, B.M. (2002). Plenary Panel on Postmodern Psychoanalysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 83(2):468-472.

(2002). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 83(2):468-472

Plenary Panel on Postmodern Psychoanalysis

Reported by:
Brian M. Robertson

Moderated by:
Jacqueline Amati Mehler

Jacqueline Amati Mehler, as Chair, welcomed the members of the audience and introduced the two speakers: Arnold Goldberg, the author of the plenary session paper entitled ‘Postmodern Psychoanalysis’, and Irma Brenman Pick, the discussant. Amati Mehler commented on the variable definition of the term ‘postmodern’ in contemporary culture. The modern world has cultivated the myth of progress, extolled the quantitative experimental method of science and accepted the power of universal reason; postmodernists challenge these beliefs. In contrast, they privilege diversity, pluralism, extreme relativism and the fragmentation of political groups. Amati Mehler further noted that although postmodernism suggested a unifying phenomenon that brought together philosophers, architects, novelists, painters, scientists and ethnic minorities, the reality was different. She referred to two types of postmodernism: one invented by artists, architects and then adopted in literature; the other invented by philosophers. The differences between these authors are many, at least in their relation to the past. Amati Mehler noted that the relation to the past is of particular interest to contemporary psychoanalysts, confronted as they are with theory and practice that derives both from tradition and from conceptual development.

The work of such philosophers as Lyotard and Derrida casts doubt on the whole inheritance of previous thinking, even though one may detect notions of refusal that at the same time represent a kind of re-appropriation.

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