By S. Frosh
Psychoanalysis has consistently grappled with its Jewish origins, occasionally celebrating them and infrequently attempting to get away or deny them. via exploration of Freud's Jewish identification, the destiny of psychoanalysis in Germany lower than the Nazis, and psychoanalytic theories of anti-Semitism, this booklet examines the importance of the Jewish reference to psychoanalysis and what that may let us know approximately political and mental resistance, anti-Semitism and racism.
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Extra resources for Hate and the ''Jewish Science'': Anti-Semitism, Nazism, and Psychoanalysis
Even Peter Gay (1988), resistant to special pleading, goes along with Freud’s claim that his status as a ‘marginal man’ might have given him an intellectual advantage. Discussing some other creative critical analysts, for example Darwin, Gay is not convinced of the speciﬁcity of Freud’s suggestion of an inherent link between Jewish marginality and the creation of psychoanalysis, but he nevertheless concedes Freud’s point in part. While it does not follow that only a marginal man – in particular, a marginal Jew – could have done Freud’s lifework, the precarious status of Jews in Austrian society did probably underlie the notorious fact that nearly all the ﬁrst psychoanalysts in Vienna were Jewish.
At the beginning, famously, Freud sets this context of anxiety as relating to the Jewish people and his possible betrayal of them in a time of trouble; signiﬁcantly, he does not hesitate to remind the reader of his own membership of this disparaged group. To deprive a people of a man whom they take pride in as the greatest of their sons is not a thing to be gladly or carelessly undertaken, least of all by someone who is himself one of them. (Freud, 1939, p. 7) Freud’s defence of his actions, as ever, is in the name of scientiﬁc truth, reﬂecting his deep-rooted if increasingly pessimistic belief that the only viable route to human progress is through the dispelling of illusions and the exercise of rationality.
Categorised as a member of a primitive race, Freud repudiated primitivity, locating himself and his work within European civilisation, with both its scientiﬁc and colonising enterprises, and replacing the opposition of Aryan/Jew with the opposition of civilised/primitive. (p. 167) Taken together with Gilman’s analysis, this suggests that Freud responded to anti-Semitism by producing in psychoanalysis a theory that reconstructed human subjectivity according to the image of the disparaged Jew (we are all circumcised/ castrated now); but in so doing 42 Hate and the ‘Jewish Science’ he also preserved the dynamics of racialised discourse, displacing it into his theorising on the ‘dark continent’ of femininity, and embedding in the idea of the ‘primitive’ – itself a powerful motif in nineteenth century western thought – the seeds for much of psychoanalysis’ later racial blindness.