Contemporary Perspectives on the Freudian Death Drive provides a sustained discussion of the death drive from the perspective of different psychoanalytic traditions. Ever since Freud introduced the notion of the death drive, it has been the subject of intense debate in psychoanalysis and beyond.
The death drive is arguably the most unsettling psychoanalytic concept. What this concept points to is more unsettling still. It uniquely illuminates the forces of destruction and dissolution at work in individuals as well as in society. This book first introduces Freud’s use of the term, tracing the debates and developments his ideas have led to. The subsequent essays by leading Viennese psychoanalysts demonstrate the power of the death drive to illuminate psychoanalytic theory, clinical practice, and the study of culture. Since this book originally arose from a conference in Vienna, its final segment is dedicated to the forced exile of the early Viennese psychoanalysts due to the Nazi threat. Due to its wide scope and the many perspectives it offers, this book is a tribute to the disturbing relevance of the death drive today.
Contemporary Perspectives on the Freudian Death Drive is of special interest to psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, social and cultural scientists, as well as anyone intending to understand the sources and vicissitudes of human destructiveness.
"Searching, scholarly and thoughtful, this valuable book is essential reading. It is not only for psychoanalysts but for all concerned people. The possibility that an innate principle of self-annihilation is at work in human behaviour and at the level of the species as well as at that of individuals is disturbing. Yet much in our contemporary situation points in its direction. If we do not want to know more, we may destroy ourselves, and many other species besides. But if we understand more, it can be ameliorated."-David Taylor, Hon,. Consultant, Tavistock Clinic; Training & Supervising Psychoanalyst, British Psychoanalytic Society; Visiting Professor, University College London Psychoanalysis Unit, UK
Introduction: The death drive: A brief genealogy of a controversial concept V. Blüml
Part I: Theory
Chapter 1: The struggle between good and evil: the concept of the death drive from a Kleinian perspective H. Rössler-Schülein
Chapter 2: Laplanche as a reader of "Beyond the Pleasure Principle" F. Früh
Chapter 3: Unexpected Antecedents to the Concept of the Death Drive: A return to the beginnings J. Wolff Bernstein
Part II: Clinical aspects
Chapter 4: Is the death drive mute – or do we pretend to be deaf? S. Zwettler-Otte
Chapter 5: Is the concept of death-drive clinically helpful for psychoanalysts? F. Lackinger
Part III: Culture
Chapter 6: Vicissitudes of the Death Drive in Culture E. Skale
Chapter 7: In the Name of Janus: Do we Need a Dualistic Drive-theory? A. Ruhs
Part IV: History
Chapter 8: The Drive that silences: The Death Drive and the Oral Tradition in Viennese Psychoanalysis D. Huppert
Chapter 9: On the history of psychoanalysis in Vienna with special focus on the forced emigration of psychoanalysts in 1938 T. Aichhorn
Chapter 10: Liselotte Frankl and Hans Herma. Two candidates of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society in 1938 N. Pakesch
Chapter 11: Remembering Dr Otto Brief T. Kunstreich
The aim of the The International Psychoanalytical Association Psychoanalytic Ideas and Applications Series is to focus on the scientific production of significant authors whose works are outstanding contributions to the development of the psychoanalytic field and to set out relevant ideas and themes, generated during the history of psychoanalysis, that deserve to be discussed by present psychoanalysts.