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Political FreudA History$
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Eli Zaretsky

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231172448

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231172448.001.0001

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Afterword—Freud in the Twenty-First Century

Afterword—Freud in the Twenty-First Century

(p.185) Afterword—Freud in the Twenty-First Century
Political Freud

Eli Zaretsky

Columbia University Press

Written on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Freud’s birth, the afterword asks whether psychoanalytic thought is relevant in today’s world or is merely of historical interest. In its heyday, it argues, Freudianism was a synthesis, combining a theory of the mind, a new paradigm for interpreting culture, and an ethical commitment to self-reflection. During the 1970s, with the waning of the traditional, family-centered culture of restraint, the three currents came apart. The theory of the mind gave way to neuroscience. The approach to culture found a home in the university, especially in cultural studies, women’s studies, queer theory, postcolonial theory, and film studies. But the fate of the ethical commitment to self-reflection, like the fate of political Freudianism as such, remains in doubt.

Keywords:   Freud, Freudianism, Totalitarianism, Consumerism, mass psychology, the unconscious

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