Object Relations in Psychoanalytic Theory offers a conceptual map of the most difficult terrain in psychoanalysis as well as a history of its most complex disputes. In exploring the counterpoint between different psychoanalytic traditions, it provides a synthetic perspective that is a major contribution to psychoanalytic thought.
The focal point of clinical psychoanalysis has always been the patient’s relationships with others. How do these relationships come about? How do they operate? How are they transformed? How are relationships with others to be understood within the framework of psychoanalytic theory?
Jay Greenberg and Stephen Mitchell argue that there have been two basic solutions to the problem of locating relationships within psychoanalytic theory: the drive model, in which relations with others are generated and shaped by the need for drive gratification; and various relational models, in which relationships themselves are taken as primary and irreducible. The authors provide a masterful overview of the history of psychoanalytic ideas, in which they trace the divergences and the interplay between the two models and the intricate strategies adopted by the major theorists in their efforts to position themselves with respect to these models. They demonstrate further that many of the controversies and fashions in diagnosis and psychoanalytic technique can be fully understood only in the context of the dialectic between the drive model and the relational models.
In a style that is writerly and audacious, Adam Phillips takes up a variety of seemingly ordinary subjects underinvestigated by psychoanalysis--kissing, worrying, risk, solitude, composure, even farting as it relates to worrying.
In On the Psychotheology of Everyday Life, Eric Santner puts Sigmund Freud in dialogue with his contemporary Franz Rosenzweig in the service of reimagining ethical and political life. By exploring the theological dimensions of Freud's writings and revealing unexpected psychoanalytic implications in the religious philosophy of Rosenzweig's masterwork, The Star of Redemption, Santner makes an original argument for understanding religions of revelation in therapeutic terms, and offers a penetrating look at how this understanding suggests fruitful ways of reconceiving political community.
Santner's crucial innovation in this new study is to bring the theological notion of revelation into a broadly psychoanalytic field, where it can be understood as a force that opens the self to everyday life and encourages accountability within the larger world. Revelation itself becomes redefined as an openness toward what is singular, enigmatic, even uncanny about the Other, whether neighbor or stranger, thereby linking a theory of drives and desire to a critical account of sociality. Santner illuminates what it means to be genuinely open to another human being or culture and to share and take responsibility for one's implication in the dilemmas of difference.
By bringing Freud and Rosenzweig together, Santner not only clarifies in new and surprising ways the profound connections between psychoanalysis and the Judeo-Christian tradition, he makes the resources of both available to contemporary efforts to rethink concepts of community and cross-cultural communication.
Freud is discredited, so we don’t have to think about the darker strains of unconscious motivation anymore. We know what moves our political leaders, so we don’t have to look too closely at their thinking either. In fact, everywhere we look in contemporary culture, knowingness has taken the place of thought. This book is a spirited assault on that deadening trend, especially as it affects our deepest attempts to understand the human psyche—in philosophy and psychoanalysis. It explodes the widespread notion that we already know the problems and proper methods in these fields and so no longer need to ask crucial questions about the structure of human subjectivity.
“What is psychology?” Open Minded is not so much an answer to this question as an attempt to understand what is being asked. The inquiry leads Jonathan Lear, a philosopher and psychoanalyst, back to Plato and Aristotle, to Freud and psychoanalysis, and to Wittgenstein. Lear argues that Freud and, more generally, psychoanalysis are the worthy inheritors of the Greek attempt to put our mindedness on display. There are also, he contends, deep affinities running through the works of Freud and Wittgenstein, despite their obvious differences. Both are concerned with how fantasy shapes our self-understanding; both reveal how life’s activities show more than we are able to say.
The philosophical tradition has portrayed the mind as more rational than it is, even when trying to account for irrationality. Psychoanalysis shows us the mind as inherently restless, tending to disrupt its own functioning. And empirical psychology, for its part, ignores those aspects of human subjectivity that elude objective description. By triangulating between the Greeks, Freud, and Wittgenstein, Lear helps us recover a sense of what it is to be open-minded in our inquiries into the human soul.
A necessary, rich new examination of how the wired world affects our humanity
Our tech-fueled economy is often touted as a boon for the development of our fullest human potential. But as our interactions are increasingly turned into mountains of data sifted by algorithms, what impact does this infinite accumulation and circulation of information really have on us? What are the hidden mechanisms that drive our continuous engagement with the digital?
In The Other Side of the Digital, Andrea Righi argues that the Other of the digital acts as a new secular God, exerting its power through endless accountability that forces us to sacrifice ourselves for the digital. Righi deconstructs the contradictions inherent in our digital world, examining how ideas of knowledge, desire, writing, temporality, and the woman are being reconfigured by our sacrificial economy. His analyses include how both our self-image and our perception of reality are skewed by technologies like fitness bands, matchmaking apps, and search engines, among others.
The Other Side of the Digital provides a necessary, in-depth cultural analysis of how the political theology of the new media functions under neoliberalism. Drawing on the work of well-known thinkers like Jacques Derrida, Jacques Lacan, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, as well as Carla Lonzi, Luisa Muraro, and Luciano Parinetto, Righi creates novel appraisals of popular digital tools that we now use routinely to process life experiences. Asking why we must sign up for this sort of regime, The Other Side of the Digital is an important wake-up call to a world deeply entangled with the digital.