By Celia Brickman
What half does racial distinction play in psychoanalysis? What could be discovered whilst contemplating this query from a postcolonial point of view? during this sophisticated and commanding research, Celia Brickman explores how the colonialist racial discourse of late-nineteenth-century anthropology chanced on its means into Freud´s paintings, the place it got here to play a covert yet the most important function in his notions of subjectivity. Brickman argues that the typical psychoanalytic suggestion of "primitivity" as an early level of mental improvement inevitably incorporates with it implications of an anthropologically understood "primitivity," which used to be conceived via Freud -and might be nonetheless is at the present time -in colonialist and racial phrases. She relates the racial subtext embedded in Freud´s notion to his representations of gender and faith and exhibits how this subtext varieties a part of the bigger historicizing pattern of the psychoanalytic undertaking. eventually, she exhibits how colonialist strains have made their manner into the...
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Additional info for Aboriginal Populations in the Mind. Race and Primitivity in Psychoanalysis
But it will be my claim in these pages that traces of these evolutionary theories are to be found throughout Freud’s work, giving rise to a covert racializing subtext within the discourse of psychoanalysis. THIS STUDY investigates the configuration of racial alterity implicated in the psychoanalytic construction of subjectivity and asks: What attitudes toward the racial other does psychoanalysis dispose its subjects to profess? 1 The beginnings of psychoanalysis coincided with the heyday of nineteenth-century European colonialism, and Freud borrowed liberally from the colonialist discourse of the evolutionary anthropologists of his time.
This community could be described broadly as including the three Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, or it could be restricted to the Christian community alone. These three terms, like the first three, were each encoded within the other as they inscribed cultural otherness on a religious map. 5 Infidel, the Latinate “unfaithful,” designated those who lacked faith in the “true religion,” as Christianity fashioned itself; it was most commonly used to describe Saracens or Muslims but was also used to denote Jews, pagans, and heathens.
I began to realize that the problem extended far beyond the use of a single term, although I became convinced that within psychoanalysis the term primitive itself is as central to the problem of race as the term feminine is to the problem of gender. I began to notice how frequent subtle slippage between the two meanings of the term “primitivity” contributed to the effortless way in which psychoanalytic interpretation could convey—and thereby unobtrusively help reinforce—racist stereotypes. An example offered itself at a case conference I happened to attend one day, conducted by a group of white American psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapists.
Aboriginal Populations in the Mind. Race and Primitivity in Psychoanalysis by Celia Brickman