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Barratt, B.B. (2018). Psychoanalysis and the Challenges of Disciplinary Exportation: Notes from the African “Periphery” on the Method/Theory Distinction. Psychoanal. Rev., 105(1):31-50.

(2018). Psychoanalytic Review, 105(1):31-50

Psychoanalysis and the Challenges of Disciplinary Exportation: Notes from the African “Periphery” on the Method/Theory Distinction

Barnaby B. Barratt, Ph.D., DHS

This paper briefly reports on the current expansion of opportunities for clinical education in psychoanalysis in southern Africa, various regions of Asia, and Iran. It is a preliminary reconsideration of whether the disciplinary export of psychoanalysis is another egregious exercise in neo-colonialism, as contrasted with its possibly liberatory significance. The author argues that much of the discussion around the universality of many theoretical propositions needs to be reformulated. For example, the controversies over the Oedipus complex have typically been articulated in terms of the effects of specific social arrangements, familial structures, and styles of maternal and paternal functioning, rather than in terms of the universal—but with much cultural variation in its implementation—incest taboo. It is argued that dissemination of the psychoanalytic method (and the four coordinates that follow from it) may be desirable, but in ways the export of the hermeneutic assumptions of certain theoretical models is not.

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