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Wagner, A. (2007). Understanding Dissidence and Controversy in the History of Psychoanalysis. Edited by Martin S. Bergmann. New York: Other Press. 2004 396 + xvi pp., index.. Psychoanal. Rev., 94(3):507-511.

(2007). Psychoanalytic Review, 94(3):507-511

Understanding Dissidence and Controversy in the History of Psychoanalysis. Edited by Martin S. Bergmann. New York: Other Press. 2004 396 + xvi pp., index.

Review by:
Aleksandra Wagner

This book is based on an invited symposium, initiated by Martin S. Bergmann and sponsored by the Psychoanalytic Research and Develop ment Fund. Focused on understanding— offering opinions, yet remaining productively inconclusive—it reads as an event, a vivacious intellectual and emotional exchange.

There are three sections: (1) a framing text by Martin Bergmann; (2) essays by AndrÄ Green, Otto F. Kernberg, Anton O. Kris, Harold P. Blum, Jill Savege Scharff, Robert S. Wallerstein, Elisabeth Young—Bruehl and Bergmann; and (3) conference proceedings, which include ideas of Mortimer Ostow, Peter Neubauer, Henry Nunberg and William I. Grossman, as well as an additional statement—response by Wal—lerstein, who could not participate in the conference itself.

For those interested in further research on issues discussed, the volume supplies not only an inspiration, but a valuable reference system, from extensive bibliographies to an index. For those interested in practice, it distinguishes dissidence in the realm of general theory (a competitive battle between metapsychologies), and dissidence in the realm of theory of technique (e.g., the work of Sandor Ferenczi).

To speak about dissidence today is difficult; its meanings have been safely assigned to the past. As Green says, today “there is no dissidence …because there is a widespread dissent” coupled with “pretense of tolerance” (pp. 26, 126). Once there used to be an orthodoxy, and there existed ideas that officially fell outside it.

[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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