Race and the Unconscious: Freudianism in French Caribbean Thought

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DAVID BROWN BOOK Company, 2002 - Literary Criticism - 115 pages
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In this ground-breaking study Britton looks at the different ways in which Freudian psychoanalysis has been incorporated into arguments about racial identity and difference in the French Caribbean. Freud is often accused of Eurocentrism and in particular of making unjustifiable generalizations on the basis of European family structures. Although French Caribbean intellectuals such as Fanon, Cesaire and Glissant have joined in these criticisms, they have also made strikingly positive use of psychoanalysis. Much intellectual energy has been invested in notions of repression, the Oedipus complex and the psychoanalytic cure, while at the same time Freudianism has been no less vigorously criticized for its political quietism and its potential as a means of social control. Thus Freudian theory, and the controversies it arouses, remains a surprisingly persistent element in Caribbean culture. The crucial issue is the link between the unconscious and race.

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About the author (2002)

Celia Britton is Professor of French at University College London.

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