By Celia Brickman
What half does racial distinction play in psychoanalysis? What could be realized while contemplating this question 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 the most important position in his notions of subjectivity. Brickman argues that the typical psychoanalytic thought of "primitivity" as an early degree of mental improvement necessarily consists of with it implications of an anthropologically understood "primitivity," which used to be conceived by means of Freud -and might be nonetheless is this day -in colonialist and racial phrases. She relates the racial subtext embedded in Freud´s concept to his representations of gender and faith and exhibits how this subtext varieties a part of the bigger historicizing pattern of the psychoanalytic venture. ultimately, she indicates how colonialist lines have made their method into the blueprint for the scientific psychoanalytic dating and issues to modern developments in psychoanalysis that can make attainable a disengagement from this legacy.
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Extra resources for Aboriginal Populations in the Mind: Race and Primitivity in Psychoanalysis
In spite of the apparent straightforwardness of its meaning, the psychoanalytic term primitive is overdetermined, drawing on two differing but overlapping genealogies. On the one hand, the term has a neutral, impartial meaning when used scientifically, in mathematics or in logic, or when applied to geological or anatomical structures. The definitions offered in the massive entry in the Oxford English Dictionary under the heading primitive all circle around the interrelated ideas of first, early, original, and simple.
Freud’s use of the idea of primitivity, which correlated the infantile stages of the development of the contemporary European psyche with early stages in the psychological evolution of humanity, made use of this legacy of European theorizing about so-called primitive peoples, drawing on its culmination in the social evolutionism of the nineteenth century. An examination of the genealogy of this theorizing, then, allows us to defamiliarize the psychoanalytic usage of the category of primitivity by tracing the colonialist contexts in which it had developed by the time it reached Freud.
I would also like to thank the Person, Culture, and Religion section of the American Academy of Religion; the Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society; and Nahum Chandler of the Program for Comparative American Cultures at The Johns Hopkins University for giving me opportunities to share some of this work in public and to engage in invigorating dialogue about it. The profusion of footnotes is a testament to the fact that this work was made possible through (textual) conversations from which I have benefited immeasurably; from among many, I would like to mention in particular George W.