8 Pages


A valid criticism that might be made of the choice of subject matter in the previous chapter, is that the four 'vertical-depth' samples of the psychoanalytic frame constitute a sort of archaeology of theory, and so do not necessarily have a bearing on contemporary psychoanalytic thinking on the subject of racism. Chapter 3 addresses this criticism by taking a series of horizontal slices through the 'culture of psychoanalysis', to see how it deals with race in the treatment setting of the clinic, and the sorts of explanations it offers for the existence of prejudice and racism. This was done by trawling through the main national and international psychoanalytic journals read by clinicians in the UK (and the USA) for articles relevant to these themes. These articles provide a window onto the 'conversations' taking place in the psychoanalytic community, and in particular the clinical community. This strategy served the supplementary purpose of 'catching' additional ways of understanding racism, ways that might otherwise have slipped the net. Chapter 4 contains brief overviews of the small number of direct psychoanalytic theorizations of racism. These are Adorno, Dollard, Kovel, Wolfenstein, Rustin and de Zulueta. It is argued that the psychoanalytic theories considered provide explanations of why particular individuals might behave in racialized ways because of their individual stories. The chapter concludes with the argument that the individualistic and internalist metapsychology inherent in these theories prevent them from engaging with the social phenomenon of racism.