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The challenges of the Great War to Freud’s psychoanalysis

Version 2 2024-06-18, 00:19
Version 1 2017-05-05, 13:22
chapter
posted on 2024-06-18, 00:19 authored by TE Morag
How did the Great War affect psychoanalysis? The common approach to this question has to do with assessing the extent to which psychoanalysis has influenced the medical and military understanding of the soldiers diagnosed with shell shock after the war, as well as the extent to which that influence further contributed to the new interest in Freudian psychoanalysis in Britain. (Lerner 2003, chapter 6; Roper 2015; Mijolla 2005) If we take a conceptual approach and ask about the impact of the Great War on the theory of psychoanalysis, we find ourselves investigating the more specific question: how did the Great War influence Freud’s psychoanalysis? For no matter how severely Freud has been and still is criticized, all psychoanalytic texts and schools lead back to his writings. When one examines Freud’s writings as a whole, comparing his pre-war work to his post-war writings, one can notice quite a few significant shifts. Perhaps most conspicuous is the shift in the theory of the mind as divided, a shift that is consolidated and articulated in The Ego and the Id (Freud 1923). Prior to the war the main division was “topographical,” postulating more or less metaphorical “places” in the mind: consciousness, pre-consciousness, and the unconscious. After the war, the mind is divided “structurally” into three agencies, each with their own motivational functions: the Id, Ego and Super-Ego. The previous division, or rather the previous conception of the unconscious, was not abandoned. The Id, as well as parts of the Ego and the Super-Ego were said to be unconscious. But the main division of the mind was changed, especially since Freud came to understand that his conception of the unconscious did not lend itself to a unified definition.

History

Volume

25

Chapter number

7

Pagination

119-137

ISBN-13

9783319503615

ISBN-10

3319503618

Language

eng

Publication classification

B1 Book chapter

Copyright notice

2017, Springer International Publishing AG

Extent

14

Editor/Contributor(s)

Sharpe M, Jeffs R, Reynolds J

Publisher

Springer

Place of publication

Cham, Switzerland

Title of book

100 years of European philosophy since the Great War: crisis and reconfigurations

Series

Philosophical studies in contemporary culture