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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Psychoanalysis and Foucault

Foucault's treatment of psychoanalysis is not particularly sympathetic. The first volume of The History of Sexuality, for example, takes aim at the "repressive hypothesis." This is a pretty direct hit on Freud. Not only to write a history of sexuality without Freud's help, but to begin the whole enterprise by turning Freud on his head. I find whole swaths of Foucault's history rather problematic, but that is for another day.

Anyway, Paul Julian Smith, one of the major Lorca critics I have to tackle in my book, uses both Freud and Foucault. His Foucauldianism lets him not deal with Lorca much as a biographical subject at all, but as an author-function. So far so good. But then psychoanalysis is not attached to any human subject at all: it becomes a free-floating hermeneutic tool. That's great, because it is lame to psychoanalyze Lorca as though he were on the couch a few feet from you. On the other hand, it makes psychoanalysis even more arbitrary than before, because it is not a theory of anyone's mind anymore. What is it? What is it doing?


Where do people without blogs essay their ideas? Or those who use their blogs but don't talk about the ideas they are working on?


Vance Maverick said...

Where did you essay yours before?

Jonathan said...

Mostly scrawling them in notebooks.