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Zwettler-Otte, S. (2017). Psychoanalytische Kulturwissenschaften [Psychoanalytic Cultural Studies] by Eveline List Facultas wuv University Press, Vienna, 2013; 301 pp; €23.99. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 98(5):1503-1507.

(2017). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 98(5):1503-1507

Psychoanalytische Kulturwissenschaften [Psychoanalytic Cultural Studies] by Eveline List Facultas wuv University Press, Vienna, 2013; 301 pp; €23.99

Review by:
Sylvia Zwettler-Otte

It is surprising that this should be the first attempt at a book of this kind, which deals so thoroughly with psychoanalysis and cultural studies and describes how psychoanalysis as a science of the unconscious became part of cultural studies through Sigmund Freud's work. Such an undertaking has in any case been brilliantly achieved by the author of this volume, a training analyst (IPA) and professor of cultural history at Vienna University, which is probably partly due to the way in which her deep knowledge both of psychoanalytic theory and practice and of cultural history has been combined with conspicuous and vibrant lucidity throughout many years of teaching.

List points out the common misconception that psychoanalysis is devoted entirely to the individual; in fact Freud very early considered mental suffering symptoms not as individual psychopathologies but as ‘compromises’ between subjective motives and collective operational contexts that belong in the field of social psychology. With both this and The Interpretation of Dreams, which explains the dynamics of unconscious mental life with the aid of an everyday phenomenon, Freud simultaneously crossed several frontiers: those between individual and society, between pathology and normality, and between the conscious and unconscious mental life, where the discovery of the unconscious also helped to put in perspective what was now an untenable ‘historic split between body and mind in Western thinking’ (p.

[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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