This book explores and revisits the concept of sublimation, in its various aspects and implications that it has in theory and clinical psychoanalysis, and also in its broader socio-cultural aspects. The basic assumption that aroused the author's interest in the topic is a certain surprise in observing how sublimation in psychoanalysis is in general spoken about less in contemporary discourse: so is it an outdated concept, an endangered species? Does it belong to the archaeology of psychotherapy? Or, on the contrary, is it so much a part of analytical practice and so well established and implicit in theory that it is not necessary to discuss it any more? It is the prevailing opinion of the author that sublimation is nowadays expressed differently and has undergone a sort of anthropological mutation, as has happened to several Freudian concepts with the changing historical and cultural contexts.
Controversies in Psychoanalysis Series , Introduction , Has sublimation disappeared? The destiny of a fundamental concept , History of the concept of sublimation, from Freud to the present day: a brief literary review , Sublimation in psychoanalytic theory , Sublimation in treatment: the end-analysis and the “transformation of the aim” , Sublimation and creativity , The impossible desire: great sublimation in art—Leonardo da Vinci according to Freud and Emily Dickinson , Sublimation in the postmodern era: a vanishing idea or a different form of expression? , Conclusion
Theoretical and clinical progress in psychoanalysis continues to develop new concepts and to reconsider old ones, often in contradiction with each other. By confronting and opening these debates, we might find points of convergence but also divergences that cannot be reconciled; the ensuing tension among these should be sustained in a pluralistic dialogue.