The Ethical Turn: Otherness and Subjectivity in Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Ethical Turn

Otherness and Subjectivity in Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 1st Edition

Edited by David M. Goodman, Eric R. Severson


302 pages

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Levinas (1969) claims that "morality is not a branch of philosophy, but first philosophy" and if he is right about this, might ethics also serve as a first psychology?This possibility is explored by the authors in this volume who seek to bring the "ethical turn" into the world of psychoanalysis. This phenomenologically rich and socially conscious ethics has taken centre stage in a variety of academic disciplines, inspired by the work of philosophers and theologians concerned with the moral fabric of subjectivity, human relationship, and socio-political life. At the heart of this movement is a reconsideration of the other person, and the dangers created when the question of the "Other" is subsumed by grander themes.

The authors showcased here represent the exceptional work being done by both scholars and practitioners working at the crossroads between psychology and philosophy in order to rethink the foundations of their disciplines. The Ethical Turn: Otherness and subjectivity in contemporary psychoanalysis guides readers into the heart of this fresh and exciting movement and includes contributions from many leading thinkers, who provide fascinating new avenues for enriching our responses to suffering and understandings of human identity. It will be of use to psychoanalysts, professionals in psychology, postgraduate students, professors and other academics in the field.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Ethics as First Psychology 1. Mutual Vulnerability: An Ethic of Clinical Practice 2. Kissing Disciplines: Relational Architecture 3. Is Ethics Masochism? Or Infinite Ethical Responsibility and Finite Human Capacity 4. Yale or Jail: Class Struggles in Neoliberal Times 5. Psychoanalysis in Neoliberal Times: A Renewed Dialogue With Madness 6. The Complications of Caring and the Ethical Turn in Psychoanalysis 7. "Screams and Shouts": Trauma, Uncertainty, and the Ethical Turn 8. Can one be a Jew without Sartre? Levinas, Jewish Education, and the Crisis of Humanism 9. A Wandering Jew with or without Sartre: Discussion of Claire Katz's Can One Still Be a Jew without Sartre? Levinas, Jewish Education, and the Crisis of Humanism. 10. The Witnessing Gaze Turned Inward: My Jewish History as the Forgotten Other 11. Gender and the Jew: The Other Within 12. Trauma, Jews, and Gender: How They are Transmitted, Imagined, and Reconceived 13. Beyond Betrayal: On Responsibility in Heidegger, Loewald, and Levinas 14. Changing the Subject by Addressing the Other: Mikhail Bakhtin and Psychoanalytic Therapy 15. I got grand things in me and America won’t let me give nothing: Constructing and Resisting a Standard American Identity 16. Creativity and Hospitality: Negotiating who or what is known in psychoanalytic psychotherapy 17. The Disabled: The Most Othered Others 18. What Fascinates: Re-reading Winnicott Reading Blanchot

About the Editors

David M. Goodman is the Associate Dean at the Woods College of Advancing Studies at Boston College, the Director of Psychology and the Other and a Teaching Associate at Harvard Medical School/Cambridge Hospital. He has written over a dozen articles, a book titled The Demanded Self: Levinasian Ethics and Identity in Psychology (Duquesne University Press, 2012) and has co-edited several books on the intersection of psychology and philosophy. Dr. Goodman is also a licensed clinical psychologist and has a private practice in Cambridge, MA.

Eric R. Severson is a philosopher specializing in the work of Emmanuel Levinas. He is author of the books Levinas's Philosophy of Time (Duquesne University Press, 2013) and Scandalous Obligation (Beacon Hill Press, 2011), and editor of several other works. He currently teaches for both Seattle University and Seattle Pacific University.

About the Series

Relational Perspectives Book Series

Founding Editor:

Stephen Mitchell

Editor Emeritus:

Lewis Aron

The Relational Perspectives Book Series (RPBS) publishes books that grow out of or contribute to the relational tradition in contemporary psychoanalysis. The term relational psychoanalysis was first used by Greenberg and Mitchell to bridge the traditions of interpersonal relations, as developed within interpersonal psychoanalysis and object relations, as developed within contemporary British theory. But, under the seminal work of the late Stephen A. Mitchell, the term relational psychoanalysis grew and began to accrue to itself many other influences and developments. Various tributaries—interpersonal psychoanalysis, object relations theory, self psychology, empirical infancy research, feminism, queer theory, sociocultural studies and elements of contemporary Freudian and Kleinian thought—flow into this tradition, which understands relational configurations between self and others, both real and fantasied, as the primary subject of psychoanalytic investigation.

 We refer to the relational tradition, rather than to a relational school, to highlight that we are identifying a trend, a tendency within contemporary psychoanalysis, not a more formally organized or coherent school or system of beliefs. Our use of the term relational signifies a dimension of theory and practice that has become salient across the wide spectrum of contemporary psychoanalysis. Now under the editorial supervision of Adrienne Harris, Steven Kuchuck and Eyal Rozmarin, the Relational Perspectives Book Series originated in 1990 under the editorial eye of the late Stephen A. Mitchell. Mitchell was the most prolific and influential of the originators of the relational tradition. Committed to dialogue among psychoanalysts, he abhorred the authoritarianism that dictated adherence to a rigid set of beliefs or technical restrictions. He championed open discussion, comparative and integrative approaches, and promoted new voices across the generations. Mitchell was later joined by the late Lewis Aron, also a visionary and influential writer, teacher and leading thinker in relational psychoanalysis.

 Included in the Relational Perspectives Book Series are authors and works that come from within the relational tradition, those that extend and develop that tradition, and works that critique relational approaches or compare and contrast them with alternative points of view. The series includes our most distinguished senior psychoanalysts, along with younger contributors who bring fresh vision. Our aim is to enable a deepening of relational thinking while reaching across disciplinary and social boundaries in order to foster an inclusive and international literature.   

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHILOSOPHY / Ethics & Moral Philosophy
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Psychoanalysis
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health