FREUD: Political and Social Thought by Paul Roazen

FREUD: Political and Social Thought

Email this review


Psychoanalysts ignore Freud's social thought, the author remarks, while for political scientists he remains ""something of a spook."" But Freud had bold hopes for the relevance of his work to other fields. Roazen, in moving from explication to possible application, succeeds in the former and fails in the latter. His method of working from Freud to socio-political issues tends to bypass the central concerns of social science-and also to ignore direct challenges to psychoanalytic explanation from (e.g.) the sociology of knowledge. We do get some sound caveats: to avoid piety, rigidity, neglect of ""objective considerations."" Roazen demonstrates sensitive extensions of Freud's thought, insisting that the later Works (whose value Freud himself doubted) must be understood in relation to clinical theories and Freud's own life. The book faults ego psychologists Who ""housebreak"" Freud and therapists who 'stress ""adjustment."" The political conclusion: Freud's views are not intrinsically conservative (indeed it is ""anti-establishment"") but its chief significance rests in its challenge to liberal-democratic theory. Not a radical application or reinterpretation like Erikson's or Marcuse's, this is a series of intelligent elucidations, valuable to students of culture, religion, authority, and war, as well as the usual consumers of Freudian exegesis.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1967
Publisher: Knopf