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Encountering Freud: The Politics and Histories of Psychoanalysis (1989)
Roazen, Paul
Routledge / Transaction Publishers / Softcover / 2016-04-01 / 1412862973
Other Applied Psychoanalysis
reg price: $65.70 our price: $ 59.13 (may be subject to change)
340 pages
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In this volume Paul Roazen examines different national responses to Freud and the beginnings of psychoanalysis. He examines Freud’s work in the contexts of law, society, and class, as well as other forms of psychology.

Encountering Freud includes a brilliant essay on Freud and the question of psychoanalysis’ contribution to radical thought, in contrast to the conservative tradition. Roazen takes up the extravagant claims of Marcuse and Reich, and sees the risks of then overglamorization of the beginnings of psychoanalysis as a profession. Roazen views the legacies of Harry Stack Sullivan, Helene Deutsch, and Erik H. Erikson as less rich because their work conformed to the social status quo. He sees Freud’s inability to avoid an ambiguous outcome as a lack of concern with normality and a refusal to own up to the wide variety of psychological solutions he found both therapeutically tolerable and humanly desirable.

Roazen concludes with a series of explorations on the dichotomies Freud left behind: clinical discoveries versus philosophical standpoints; the relationship of normality to nihilism; and a defense of a therapeutic setting based on trained specialists versus a therapeutic approach encouraging self-expression. This is a volume that utilizes a sharp focus on Freud and his followers and dissenters to explore the question of political psychology at one end and psych-history at the other end of analysis.


"No Freudian scholar can fail to take into account the work and research of Professor Roazen, whose prolific writings upon the many facets of psychoanalytic history span some twenty-five years. Now Roazen himself has gathered 16 of his essays into a personal anthology to which he adds a challenging introduction."

—Patrick J. Mahony, University of Montreal, author of Freud as a Writer

"Paul Roazen is unquestionably a major contributor to the study of Freud’s life and work and the history of psychoanalysis. . . . In this book of essays, Roazen weaves together the scores of book reviews and essays he has written in the last twenty years. . . . Roazen’s views on each of the books are interesting and lively. Scholars interested in the history and politics of psychoanalysis will find this critical summary of the literature a useful tool."

—Roberta Satow, Contemporary Sociology

"Paul Roazen . . . has . . . been a leading Freudian scholar for over twenty years. This new book of essays reflects his belief that traditional political theorists ought to respond to the challenge of modern psychological thinking, just as psychoanalysts ought to be more aware of the moral and political assumptions which underlie their views of human nature. Anyone who teaches, or who is interested in, the history of ideas, will find Paul Roazen's work both controversial and refreshing."

—Anthony Storr, Oxford University

"This fascinating book displays the broad learning and trenchant reflectiveness that have made Paul Roazen not only one of the most informative figures in modern psychoanalysis, but a real force in keeping it alive and growing."

—Leston Havens, Professor of psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

"Encountering Freud will be informative and interesting to readers who already know something about the intellectual and personal history of the psychoanalytic movement. . . . Artful at laying out the broader connections between psychoanalysis and other attempts to capture the human condition, [Roazen] occupies a unique niche in his mastery of the personal side of psychoanalysis.”

—Miles F. Shore, The Journal of Interdisciplinary History

About the Author:

Paul Roazen (1936-2005) was professor of social and political science at York University in Toronto. He was the author of Helene Deutsch and Brother Animal, both available from Transaction.

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