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Astor, J. (2005). Burleson, Blake W. Jung in Africa. New York/London: Continuum, 2005. Pp. 256. Pbk. £15.99.. J. Anal. Psychol., 50(5):707-711.

(2005). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 50(5):707-711

Burleson, Blake W. Jung in Africa. New York/London: Continuum, 2005. Pp. 256. Pbk. £15.99.

Review by:
James Astor

Edited by:
David Hewison and Mark Kuras

The author of this book has read Jung carefully, spent time in Africa meeting knowledgeable people, who understand the customs of the ethnic group Jung ‘studied’ on his safari, and has assembled the whole into a narrative account of the Bugishu Psychological Expedition, as Jung's African journey in 1925-6 was grandly titled. Of all Jung's travels this five-month journey was one he returned to in his writings and seminars, and for all his protests that inner events were always more important to him than outer ones, this safari ‘may be considered the most important “outer” event in Jung's life’. Burleson claims ‘the Jung safari of 1925-6 stands as the one central outer event which shaped his paradigmatic life and revolutionary thought’. He goes on to say that in Africa ‘Jung found his raison d’être, his life “myth”, [and that] Jung was one of the first post-modern men’ (p. 17). His post-modernism is further associated with the theory of relativity, quantum mechanics, ‘the interdependence philosophies of Buddhism, the yin-yang polarities of Taoism, paleontological discoveries on human origins, Northrop Frye's literary hermeneutics’ and more besides. This is Burleson at his most reverential.

His other side recognizes that Jung had a superficial knowledge and understanding of the ethnic group he investigated, that he did not speak their language, and that his preconceptions and imperialistic assumptions coloured his account.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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