Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
C. Fred Alford
In danger of extinction as a clinical practice, psychoanalysis thrives in a number of areas in academic life, almost all connected to political theory: critical literary theory, feminist theory, postcolonial theory, and of course political theory itself. The importance of psychoanalysis, the reason for its lasting influence, stems from the fact that it asks the same question asked by all the great political thinkers. What is the nature of the psyche , the Greek term that may be translated as soul or self? What is the best regime, given human nature as we know it? In one way or another, the study of “psycheology” has been the leading concern of all great political theory from Plato to the present. Sigmund Freud (1856–1939), founder of modern psychoanalysis, said that civilization is built on the problem of controlling aggression. Not sex, even if that is the popular reading of Freud, but aggression ...