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Forrester, J. (2013). Editorial. Psychoanal. Hist., 15(1):1-3.

(2013). Psychoanalysis and History, 15(1):1-3


John Forrester

This issue of Psychoanalysis and History includes two substantial papers that explore the relationships between psychoanalysis and politics; however, they do so with very different methods and in relation to very different cultures. Psychoanalysis was implanted in the United States more successfully than any other country during the mid twentieth century. Much has been made of the alliances there between left-leaning political and academic theories and psychoanalysis, often influenced by émigré groups in flight from Nazi persecution. Yet so much of American political and cultural theory was not left-leaning. What is more, there were always strands of the Left which were in fundamental agreement with the Soviet criticisms — begun under Stalin but lasting until the USSR collapsed — that psychoanalysis represented an individualist and bourgeois ideology antithetical and antipathetic to the struggle for socialism. How, given these contrasting movements of thought, did psychoanalysis fare in that bastion of anti-socialism, the USA? Matt ffytche examines the development of neo-conservative thought in the USA since World War II and its relationship to psychoanalysis, finding some surprising answers to that question. His paper is a striking reminder that there are no axiomatic givens when it comes to assessing the place of psychoanalytic in relation to political theory and to actual politics; he also reminds us that the contingencies of time and place produce surprising marriages of ideological convenience.

The second paper that addresses the interface between psychoanalysis and politics is concerned with a very different kind of set of publications situated in a very different culture.

[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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