A. Kiarina Kordela is Associate Professor of German Studies at Macalester College.
Govrin argues that throughout its history, psychoanalysis has successfully embraced an amalgam of what he has defined and termed "fascinated" and "troubled communities." A "fascinated community" is a group that embraces a psychoanalytic theory (such as Bion's, Klein's, Winnicott s) as one embraces truth. A "troubled community" is one that is not satisfied with the state of psychoanalytic knowledge and seeks to generate a fundamental change that does not square with existing traditions (such as new psychoanalytic schools, scientifically troubled communities and the relational approach).
It is this amalgam and the continuous tension between these two groups that are responsible for psychoanalysis' rich and varied development and for its ability to adapt to a changing world. Clinical vignettes from the work of Robert Stolorow, Betty Joseph, Antonino Ferro and Michael Eigen illustrate the dynamic by which psychoanalytic knowledge is formed. "Conservative and Radical Perspectives on Psychoanalytic Knowledge" will be of interest to psychoanalysts, psychotherapists and philosophers alike.
Is pleasure a rotten idea, mired in negativity and lack, which should be abandoned in favor of a new concept of desire? Or is desire itself fundamentally a matter of lack, absence, and loss? This is one of the crucial issues dividing the work of Gilles Deleuze and Jacques Lacan, two of the most formidable figures of postwar French thought. Though the encounter with psychoanalysis deeply marked Deleuze's work, we are yet to have a critical account of the very different postures he adopted toward psychoanalysis, and especially Lacanian theory, throughout his career. In The Trouble with Pleasure, Aaron Schuster tackles this tangled relationship head on. The result is neither a Lacanian reading of Deleuze nor a Deleuzian reading of Lacan but rather a systematic and comparative analysis that identifies concerns common to both thinkers and their ultimately incompatible ways of addressing them. Schuster focuses on drive and desire—the strange, convoluted relationship of human beings to the forces that move them from within—“the trouble with pleasure."
Along the way, Schuster offers his own engaging and surprising conceptual analyses and inventive examples. In the “Critique of Pure Complaint” he provides a philosophy of complaining, ranging from Freud's theory of neurosis to Spinoza's intellectual complaint of God and the Deleuzian great complaint. Schuster goes on to elaborate, among other things, a theory of love as “mutually compatible symptoms”; an original philosophical history of pleasure, including a hypothetical Heideggerian treatise and a Platonic theory of true pleasure; and an exploration of the 1920s “literature of the death drive,” including Thomas Mann, Italo Svevo, and Blaise Cendrars.
Using monistic Marxian/Lacanian structuralism as an alternative to dominant models from Plato and Kant to phenomenological accounts, deconstruction, and other contemporary approaches, Kordela expertly argues that Marx’s theory of commodity fetishism is a reformulation of the Spinozian thesis that thought (mind) and things (bodies or extension) are manifestations of one and the same being or substance. Kordela’s link between Spinoza and Marx shows that being consists of two aspects, value and power, the former leading to structuralist thought, the latter becoming the object of contemporary biopower. Epistemontology in Spinoza-Marx-Freud-Lacan intervenes between two dominant lines of thought in the reception of Marx today: on the one hand, an approach that relates Marxian thought to psychoanalysis from a Hegelian/dialectical perspective and, on the other hand, an approach that links Marxism to Spinozian monism, at the total exclusion of psychoanalysis.
This book will interest scholars and researchers who study Marxism, (post)structuralism, psychoanalysis, critical theory, ontology, epistemology and theories of representation, theoreticians of cultural studies and comparative literature, aesthetic theory, including the relation of art to economy and politics, and biopolitics.