FOUCAULT, PSYCHOANALYSIS, AND CRITIQUE: two aspects of problematization

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Abstract

In this paper, I examine the relationship between Foucault and psychoanalysis through the lens of problematization. Rather than asking the interpretive question of what was Foucault’s own attitude toward psychoanalysis, I analyze what sort of problem psychoanalysis might be thought to pose for a Foucaultian conception of critique. The bulk of the paper is devoted to a discussion of the three primary dangers that psychoanalysis is typically thought to pose for such a conception; these dangers are grouped under the headings of normalization, the drives, and power. After arguing that these three dangers can be overcome–by which I mean that they do not amount to reasons for believing that psychoanalysis is conceptually incompatible with Foucaultian critique–I then turn to a discussion of how psychoanalytic concepts and categories are related to Foucault’s method of critical problematization. There I argue that psychoanalysis, far from being incompatible with Foucault’s understanding of critique, actually serves as a model for his own critical method understood as a radical approach to writing history.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-186
Number of pages17
JournalAngelaki - Journal of the Theoretical Humanities
Volume23
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 4 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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