By Anthony Elliott
During this compelling e-book, Anthony Elliott strains the increase of psychoanalysis from the Frankfurt university to postmodernism. analyzing how pathbreaking theorists comparable to Adorno, Marcuse, Lacan and Lyotard have deployed psychoanalysis to politicise concerns similar to wish, sexuality, repression and id, Elliott assesses the earnings and losses bobbing up from this appropriation of psychoanalysis in social concept and cultural studies.Moving from the influence of the tradition Wars and up to date Freud-bashing to modern debates in social conception, feminism and postmodernism, Elliott argues for a brand new alliance among sociological and psychoanalytic views.
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Additional info for Social Theory Since Freud: Self and Society After Freud
According to Marcuse, the psychoanalytic division of the individual into id, ego, and superego is no longer relevant. A weakening in patriarchal authority within the bourgeois nuclear family, accompanied by the impact of the mass media and commodified culture, has led to an authority-bound, easily manipulable subject. Subjecthood, in conditions of late capitalism, is rendered a mere functional component of the system of domination. SOCIAL THEORY SINCE FREUD 33 Notwithstanding this bleak picture of the contemporary epoch, Marcuse was optimistic about social change.
For Lacan, the individual subject is constituted in and through loss, as an excess of lack. In a 36 SOCIAL THEORY SINCE FREUD radical revision of Freud, largely through a widening of the horizons of psychoanalysis to embrace structuralist linguistics and poststructuralist theories of discourse, Lacan makes lack the cause which ensures that as human subjects we are continually falling short, failing, fading and lapsing. The writings of Lacan have been widely regarded (especially in the Englishspeaking world) as inexhaustibly complex, and one reason for this may be that Lacan himself believed it necessary to fashion a theoretical discourse at odds with itself in order for psychoanalysis to do justice to the rich vagaries of emotional life.
Similarly, the argument that reason or rationality can be located in repressed drives (the notion of ‘libidinal rationality’) is underdeveloped. Marcuse’s work fails to analyse in any substantive way intersubjective social relationships. Instead, his vision of political autonomy is one in which repressed drives become liberated, and thus transfigurative of social relations. From this angle, some critics have suggested that Marcuse’s conception of the relation between repressed desire and social transformation is individualistic and asocial in character (see Held, 1980; Chodorow, 1989).