Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Political FreudA History$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Eli Zaretsky

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231172448

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231172448.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

From the Maturity Ethic to the Psychology of Power

From the Maturity Ethic to the Psychology of Power

The New Left, Feminism, and the Return to “Social Reality”

(p.148) 5 From the Maturity Ethic to the Psychology of Power
Political Freud

Eli Zaretsky

Columbia University Press

Chapter 5 concerns the Freud of the New Left and of radical feminism, arguably the last incarnation of political Freud. The chapter begins in cold war America, when Freudian thought was being integrated into an anticommunist “maturity ethic,” a new Puritanism or Calvinism. This cold war version of Weber’s spirit of capitalism echoed its predecessor by condemning narcissism or self-love and so became a target of radical movements in the 1960s. 1970s feminists, drawing on the New Left precedent, substituted a sociological and political account of domination for the “individual explanations” characteristic of psychoanalysis. The eventual result was a new ethic of personal life that converged with the neoliberal critique of traditional, familial, and kinship-based authority and unwittingly facilitated the emergence of full-scale consumer capitalism. Bringing us full circle to the story begun in chapter 1, then, the cultural revolutions of the sixties and seventies completed the critique of the Protestant ethic that classical Freudianism had begun. As the restraints and inhibitions that once animated it seemed to crumble, Freudianism became “obsolete.” 

Keywords:   Freud, Freudianism, The New Left, Consumerism, mass psychology, Feminism

Columbia Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .