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Birger, D.M. (1984). The Psychoanalytic Study of Society, IX. 1981: A Footnote to Freud: Lévi-Strauss' Debt to Psychoanalysis. C. R. Badcock. Pp. 37-48.. Psychoanal Q., 53:487-488.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: The Psychoanalytic Study of Society, IX. 1981: A Footnote to Freud: Lévi-Strauss' Debt to Psychoanalysis. C. R. Badcock. Pp. 37-48.

(1984). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 53:487-488

The Psychoanalytic Study of Society, IX. 1981: A Footnote to Freud: Lévi-Strauss' Debt to Psychoanalysis. C. R. Badcock. Pp. 37-48.

Daniel M. Birger

The author juxtaposes Freud's psychoanalytic principles with fundamental elements in Lévi-Strauss's structuralism and ethnographic theories. He argues that

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the apparent divergences are superficial and, in essence, that Lévi-Strauss's approach is not genuinely original but an elaboration of Freud's principles. Whereas in psychoanalytic theory we find the unconscious mind containing derivatives of instinctual activity, Lévi-Strauss's concept of the unconscious postulates the existence of a structure created by the logic of Nature written into the circuitry of the brain. Like Freud, Lévi-Strauss accepted the primacy of the unconscious, but rather than viewing it as individualistic and irrational, he viewed it as collective and rational, and he eliminated libido as a primary life force. Freud stressed body and instincts as representations of Nature, but Lévi-Strauss portrayed the mind as a reflection of Nature, by which it was created. Nature, however, as defined by Lévi-Strauss, is an abstract, philosophical construct when compared to Freud's instincts. Badcock acknowledges the originality and breadth of synthesis of structuralism but predicts that it may become just an "incorrigibly French" footnote to Freud.

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Article Citation

Birger, D.M. (1984). The Psychoanalytic Study of Society, IX. 1981. Psychoanal. Q., 53:487-488

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