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Amy Allen, Critique on the Couch: Why Critical Theory Needs Psychoanalysis

Amy Allen, Critique on the Couch: Why Critical Theory Needs Psychoanalysis Books (New York: Colombia University Press, Series: New Directions in Critical Theory, 2021; 265pp.); reviewed by Lisa Baraitser DOI: 10.3366/pah.2022.0426 Why does contemporary critical theory in the Frankfurt School tradition need psychoanalysis, Amy Allen asks in her carefully argued and illuminating new work, Critique on the Couch. More particularly, if it does have such a need, what does it need it for; what kind of work can psychoanalysis do for critical theory in its attempt to understand and address the various political crises of the current historical moment? Allen’s overall direction – and it is an innovative one – is to introduce Kleinian metapsychology to a history of critical theory that has either drawn on a late Freudian metapsychology with its antagonism between drives towards life and death, or a Winnicottian turn that eviscerates some of what is so useful in Freud’s understanding of the centrality of destructiveness in psychic life. The question Allen poses is whether a new pairing between critical theory and Kleinian psychoanalysis can provide some handle on the ‘deep irrationality’, as she puts it, of the contemporary political moment (p. 187). She briefly alludes to this as the resurgence and continued allure of right-wing authoritarian http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Psychoanalysis and History Edinburgh University Press

Amy Allen, Critique on the Couch: Why Critical Theory Needs Psychoanalysis

Psychoanalysis and History , Volume 24 (2): 5 – Aug 1, 2022

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Edinburgh University Press
ISSN
1460-8235
eISSN
1755-201X
DOI
10.3366/pah.2022.0426
Publisher site
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Abstract

Books (New York: Colombia University Press, Series: New Directions in Critical Theory, 2021; 265pp.); reviewed by Lisa Baraitser DOI: 10.3366/pah.2022.0426 Why does contemporary critical theory in the Frankfurt School tradition need psychoanalysis, Amy Allen asks in her carefully argued and illuminating new work, Critique on the Couch. More particularly, if it does have such a need, what does it need it for; what kind of work can psychoanalysis do for critical theory in its attempt to understand and address the various political crises of the current historical moment? Allen’s overall direction – and it is an innovative one – is to introduce Kleinian metapsychology to a history of critical theory that has either drawn on a late Freudian metapsychology with its antagonism between drives towards life and death, or a Winnicottian turn that eviscerates some of what is so useful in Freud’s understanding of the centrality of destructiveness in psychic life. The question Allen poses is whether a new pairing between critical theory and Kleinian psychoanalysis can provide some handle on the ‘deep irrationality’, as she puts it, of the contemporary political moment (p. 187). She briefly alludes to this as the resurgence and continued allure of right-wing authoritarian

Journal

Psychoanalysis and HistoryEdinburgh University Press

Published: Aug 1, 2022

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