The Unconscious : Contemporary Refractions In Psychoanalysis book cover
1st Edition

The Unconscious
Contemporary Refractions In Psychoanalysis

ISBN 9780367498399
Published August 3, 2020 by Routledge
202 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book explores the unconscious in psychoanalysisusing cross-disciplinary input from the cultural, social and linguistic perspectives. This book is the first contemporary collection applying the various perspectives from within the psychoanalytic discipline.

It covers the unconscious from three main perspectives: the metaphysical, including links with quantum mechanics and Jung's thought; the socio-relational, drawing on ideas from politics, inter-generational trauma and the interpersonal; and the linguistic, drawing on notions of the social construct of language and hermeneutics. Throughout the history of psychoanalysis, theorists have wrestled with the ubiquitousness and diverse nature of the unconscious. This collection is an account of the contemporary psychoanalytic struggle to understand and work with this quintessential, defining, and foundational object of psychoanalysis.

This book is primarily of interest to practicing clinicians and trainees. It is also of significant interest to any academic professionals and students who adapt psychoanalytic thought in their studies in the humanities, including literature, philosophy, and the social sciences.

Table of Contents

List of Contributors Introduction Part I: The Unconscious is Everywhere, and Nowhere Chapter 1: From Out of Nowhere: The Paradox of Unconscious Experience Commentary: Einstein’s Elsewhere Chapter 2: Into the Frog Swamp: Jungian Conceptions of the Unconscious in Practice Commentary: Freud and Jung: Submission and Surrender to the Unconscious Part II: Power and the Social Unconscious Chapter 3: Enactment, Power, or Play, in Jessica Benjamin’s Clinical Theory Chapter 4: The Power Principle: The shame of the father or the emperor's new clothes Chapter 5: Enacting Identity: Normative Unconscious Processes in Clinic and Culture Commentary: The Sexual Unconscious in Tension with Normative Unconscious Processes Part III: Language, the Sexual, and the Unconscious Chapter 6: Introduction to a Lacivanian Idiolect Commentary: Are Lacan and Sullivan Linked by their Conceptions of Anxiety and the Unassimilable? Chapter 7: Après Coup Commentary: How the World Becomes Bigger; Implantation, Intromission and the Après-coup Index

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Pascal Sauvayre is a member of the faculty and a training and supervising analyst at the William Alanson White Institute. He has a private practice in New York City. He is a co-translator of the upcoming translation of Laplanche’s The Tub: Transcendence of the Transference.

David Braucher is a member of the faculty of the William Alanson White Institute’s Division I Psychoanalytic Program and a lecturer at NYU Steinhart. He is on the editorial board of the journal, Contemporary Psychoanalysis, and author of Life Smarts on He is in private practice in the Manhattan’s West Village.


"A well needed exploration of unconscious work and theories about it, at once thoughtful, creative, evocative. Aspects of the Jungian, Relational and Lacanian unconscious are viewed from an interpersonal perspective. The authors leave the way open for diverse approaches to interact and enrich each other, pulsating with possibilities. Rather than tying everything up, the book feels like a beginning through which we speak with the unconscious speaking with us."

Michael Eigen, The Challenge of Being Human, The Sensitive Self, Feeling Matters, and Flames from the Unconscious: Trauma, Madness, Faith


"Though unconscious process and unconscious motivation has been at the center of psychoanalytic thinking from its inception, there has been only minimal literature comparing different ways of thinking about these key concepts that have evolved beyond Freud’s original description and its ego-psychological emendations. This scholarly and well written volume brings us up-to-date, delineating key contemporary conceptualizations of unconscious process, comparing them with each other as well as with Freudian theorizing. It should be required reading for anyone interested in psychoanalysis."

Irwin Hirsch Ph.D,, NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis; the Wm. Alanson White Institute; the Manhattan Institute for Psychoanalysis


"A book full of enriching analyses of the so called 'vast domain'—the unconscious. A must for everyone entangled in the discourse on psychoanalysis and those who want to get involved."

Rosemarie Brucher is a scholar in Theater Studies and Vice-Rector of Research of the Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna


"A rich and rewarding collection of essays that expands our understanding and appreciation of the unconscious. Drawing on a diversity of voices and opinions, the editors weave a tapestry of viewpoints that challenge standard assumptions about the nature of unconscious experience and its applications. With themes ranging from the intrapsychic and the implicit, to language and symbolism, sexuality and gender, race and social class, this important new volume provides essential insights on the unconscious."

Roger Frie, Professor of Education, Simon Fraser University and Affiliate Professor of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia