By Celia Brickman
What half does racial distinction play in psychoanalysis? What will be realized while contemplating this query from a postcolonial point of view? during this sophisticated and commanding research, Celia Brickman explores how the colonialist racial discourse of late-nineteenth-century anthropology chanced on its method into Freud´s paintings, the place it got here to play a covert yet an important position in his notions of subjectivity. Brickman argues that the typical psychoanalytic inspiration of "primitivity" as an early level of mental improvement inevitably consists of with it implications of an anthropologically understood "primitivity," which was once conceived via Freud -and probably nonetheless is at the present time -in colonialist and racial phrases. She relates the racial subtext embedded in Freud´s notion to his representations of gender and faith and exhibits how this subtext types a part of the bigger historicizing development of the psychoanalytic venture. ultimately, she exhibits how colonialist lines have made their manner into the...
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Extra resources for Aboriginal Populations in the Mind. Race and Primitivity in Psychoanalysis
9 Despite its ability to furnish the tools for such emancipatory interventions, however, psychoanalysis remains handicapped by its own ideological blindspots. As critical assessments of the question of gender in psychoanalysis might suggest, Freud’s assumptions concerning race are likely to be reproduced whenever his theories are used unless these assumptions have been explicitly examined and challenged. The task, therefore, is to confront these assumptions in Freud’s cultural and social texts and in their ramifications in his metapsychologies, in the ways they are supported by his inscription of modern subjectivity within a historicizing discourse, and in the ways they filter through to the critical and clinical applications of psychoanalysis.
It may seem to some that this critique misses the fuller dimensions of meaning made possible by psychoanalysis. Indeed, some contemporary nuanced readings of Freud make it difficult to criticize him on the basis of the particular language he used. Challenges to Freud’s misogyny, for example, can seem beside the point when we are told that the discursive formations in which his writings on femininity appear actually anticipate these challenges by producing the very conditions for their articulation: understanding the phallus as the psychic function that effects the possibility of representation in language and thus of being fully human can seem to negate the more literal reading of Freud’s rendering of female desire as penis envy.
The patient under discussion was a young white man who had lost his mother at an early age and was now having difficulty deciding on his vocation. One way or another, he hoped eventually to go to Africa to do good works. His desire to go to Africa was immediately taken up by the clinicians at the conference: he wished to visit the dark continent! they exclaimed. What could this mean, except that he was now ready to explore the darker reaches of his own mind. What could this mean, except that he was now ready to explore the painful memories surrounding the loss of his mother, primitive memories buried so deeply in those darker reaches.
Aboriginal Populations in the Mind. Race and Primitivity in Psychoanalysis by Celia Brickman