chapter
psychoanalysis
Pages 3

Psychoanalysis is at once a distinct intellectual discipline, a theory of the human mind and human body, and a kind of therapeutic practice. It was founded by †Sigmund Freud in turn-of-the-century Vienna, where he swiftly gathered a group of like-minded practitioners around him. By the second decade of the twentieth century Freud’s arguments were spreading beyond his Viennese circle, especially in North America. Freud himself published at least one contribution to contemporary anthropological debates-his theory of the origins of *incest in Totem and Taboo ([1913] 1950)—while his heterodox former protégé C.G.Jung made promiscuous use of ethnographic data in his theory of †archetypes. Freud’s own anthropological writings are so mired in the speculative *evolutionism of their time that a sympathetic reading requires great interpretive charity, even from anthropologists with a strong psychoanalytic commitment (e.g. Paul 1991). Since the early years of psychoanalysis, there has been a small but distinguished group of psychoanalytic anthropologists, including †Georges Devereux, †Géza Roheim and †Abram Kardiner, all of whom were trained analysts with anthropological field experience, and in more recent years, Melford Spiro and Gananath Obeyesekere.