General Study Questions of Psychoanalytic History and Development:
How do psychoanalytic ideas originate and how are they transmitted? In what sensedo we consider the phenomena to which psychoanalysis refers (e.g., the unconscious,reality, etc.)
to be discovered, or actually constructed discursively by theparticipants in a “depth” inquiry?
How might a history of psychoanalytic ideas and practices (one that is focused onthe chronology of authors/teachers, practitioners/adherents, schools/institutes) actuallyobscure the more profoundly paradigmatic and discursive genealogy of psychoanalyticideas and practices (“genealogy” implying a “history” that is focused on issues of logical-rhetorical structuring and transformation, modes of ideological transmission, andsociocultural determinants)?
What would it mean to claim that psychoanalysis proceeds “rationally”? Whatdefines “psychoanalysis” and how are its internal controversies to be understood or arbitrated (i.e., what levels of philosophical, ideological, cultural, scientific and clinicaldescription can usefully be brought to bear on these divergences)? And what thereforeare the limits of inter-translatability between different “models”?
Comparison of fundamentally divergent theories of the human condition requires thatsome sort of criteria of appraisal need to be brought to bear on the theories beingcompared. The following are offered as five deeply-interconnected metatheoreticaldimensions—or criteria for appraisal or evaluation—that might possibly to useful:
Self, Consciousness and the Unconscious.
Does the theory posit, or assume, thatthe human being once was, now is, or can become an internally harmonious andintegrated unit? Or is internal conflict, fragmentation or contradictoriness taken as aninevitable and unavoidable feature of living a human life?
The “Sexual Body.”
Does the theory posit, or assume, that the human mind issomehow separate and distinct from the body it inhabits—thereby, subscribing to theepistemology and ontology of a Cartesian type of dualism? Or is the bodymindappreciated more holistically, and its sensuality and sexuality—the “immediate presenceof the lived experience of embodiment”—understood to have a foundationalpre-conceptual, pre-narratological, and pre-subject/object role in all humanpsychological functioning?
Individual and Spirituality.
Does the theory allow for ontological realms other thanthose that characterize ordinary, consensual reality? And therefore what forces—
Psychoanalysis after Freud / Post-Freudian Traditions: A Study Guide.
Page 3 of 41.© Barnaby B. Barratt, PhD, DHS, 2008