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Ehrlich, R. (2018). A Political Exploration of Psychoanalysis: Political Freud: A History, by Eli Zaretsky. Psychoanal Q., 87(1):193-209.

(2018). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 87(1):193-209

Book Review Essay

A Political Exploration of Psychoanalysis: Political Freud: A History, by Eli Zaretsky

Robert Ehrlich

Political Freud: A History. By Eli Zaretsky. New York: Columbia University Press, 2015. 228 pp.

As a historian, Eli Zaretsky is well situated to provide an analysis of the development of psychoanalysis from its origins to the present. In this context, unlike others who have attempted to do this by focusing their attention primarily on metapsychological issues and the clinical work that flows from those suppositions, Zaretsky contextualizes these matters by providing a political, economic, social, and cultural framework. He did this initially in an earlier work, Secrets of the Soul (2004), but in his most recent book, Political Freud, he expands on this earlier work by exploring the manner in which Freud's ideas have been responded to, especially in the United States, from approximately 1900 to the present. Of particular importance to Zaretsky are the theoretical, clinical, and political implications of these responses. According to him, Freud's ideas have been diluted by many of those both inside and outside of the psychoanalytic community.


[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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