Freud, Psychoanalysis, Social Theory

The Unfulfilled Promise

By Fred Weinstein

Subjects: Cultural Critique
Series: SUNY series in Social and Political Thought
Paperback : 9780791448427, 264 pages, December 2000
Hardcover : 9780791448410, 264 pages, December 2000

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Table of contents



1. Loss and Affect in Psychoanalysis

2. Cognitive Issues in Psychoanalysis

3. Obstacles to Theory and Practice in Psychoanalysis

4. The Fragmentation of Psychoanalysis

5. The Lessons for Social Theory



Discusses the reasons for the decline of the cultural influence of psychoanalysis.


Freud, Psychoanalysis, Social Theory explores the parallel decline of psychoanalysis which, as psychoanalysts themselves testify, has lost its position as a vital source for innovative cultural analysis and critique, and mainstream social science, which has for methodological reasons similarly abandoned larger interpretive goals. Theory in all domains faces a central paradox: it is easier for societies to absorb and contain the multiple perspectives and disparate intentions of people acting in the context of different social locations than it is for theorists from any perspective to explain credibly how it happens. Weinstein uses the conflicts between and among the many competing visions of psychoanalytic theory to suggest how this paradox might yet be resolved.

Fred Weinstein is Professor Emeritus of History at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. He is the author of several books including History and Theory After the Fall: An Essay on Interpretation.


"This is an extraordinary achievement. Weinstein has taken on the entire promise of the social sciences . . . a truly colossal enterprise which he has pulled off in often dazzling ways. There is something of major intellectual importance on literally every page of this book. " — Thomas J. Cottle, Boston University

"A stimulating and important book that should command wide interest, not only among psychoanalysts and mental health professionals, but also in academia, particularly in the social sciences. " — Peter Loewenberg, University of California, Los Angeles