Critical theory draws on Marxism, psychoanalysis, postmodern and poststructuralist theorists. Marxism and psychoanalysis are rooted in the Enlightenment project, while postmodernism and poststructuralism are more indebted to Nietzsche, whose philosophy is rooted in anti-Enlightenment ideas and ideals. Marxism and psychoanalysis contributed mightily to our understanding of fascism and authoritarianism, but were distorted and disfigured by authoritarian tendencies and practices in turn. This book, written for clinicians and social scientists, explores these overarching themes, focusing on the reception of Freud in America, the authoritarian personality and American politics, Lacan’s “return to Freud,” Jordan Peterson and the Crisis of the Liberal Arts, and the anti-psychiatry movement.
“Building on the rich history of psychoanalysis, Burston invites his readers to explore the meaning of a truth-loving disposition and its relevance for contemporary debates in the social sciences and humanities. This important book shines a critical lens on currently fashionable critiques of academia and demonstrates the relevance and depth of humanistic thinking for the pressing psychological and political issues we face today.”
—Roger Frie, Professor of Education, Simon Fraser University and Affiliate Professor of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia, Canada
“Daniel Burston is one of those rare intellectually gifted polymaths whose scholarly contributions to psychoanalysis, political critical theory, and the history of the social sciences remain unparalleled. In this recent book he perspicaciously critiques the politics of psychoanalysis, authoritarianism, the pre-linguistic unconscious, the anti-psychiatry and pharmacology movements, the ideology of group identification, post-enlightenment sensibility, and the crisis of postmodernism in the humanities. Before we slip into fascism and irrevocable ecological destruction, his timely call for critical self-reflection and conscientious social activism is incumbent upon us all.”
—Jon Mills, Faculty, Postgraduate Programs in Psychoanalysis & Psychotherapy, Adelphi University, USA and author of Inventing God (2016).
“A truly educative volume that is destined to be widely read. Is there another author who could do justice to such disparate—but equally controversial—figures as Paul Roazen and Jordan Peterson? This is the backdrop to Daniel Burston’s disconcerting mirror for psychology and psychoanalysis, situated between academia and the wider culture. Far from being personalistic or journalistic, this work rests on Burston's masterly knowledge of critical theory in its widest sense.”
—Andrew Samuels, Former Professor of Analytical Psychology, University of Essex, UK
About the Author:
Daniel Burston is Associate Professor of Psychology at Duquesne University, USA, and the author of numerous books and papers on the history of psychology, psychiatry and psychoanalysis.