NameBuzby, Amy Lynn (author), Bronner, Stephen Eric (chair), Bathory, Peter Dennis (internal member), Murphy, Andrew (internal member), Ramsamy, Edward (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
Critical theory ,
Freud, Sigmund, 1856-1939—Criticism and interpretation
DescriptionThis dissertation reinterprets psychoanalysis within the context of and for use by critical theory. The central argument is that psychoanalysis has emancipatory potential that critical theory has yet to tap, and that a reimagined psychoanalysis thus has much to offer critical theory. The dissertation begins with a rereading of Freud’s critical method that highlights Freud’s heretofore-obscured militant optimism and compassion. The question of how critical theory can utilize this new understanding of Freud’s work is then considered in analyses of Horkheimer’s work on compassion and Habermas’s theorization of psychoanalysis as a model of communicative action. With this groundwork established, the dissertation turns to consider three directly political categories. Firstly, psychoanalytic Eros is critically juxtaposed with Herbert Marcuse’s account of the same. The author argues that psychoanalytic Eros, which is balanced more heavily towards the quotidian than the utopian, is more useful to critical theory because it speaks to concrete social agency and solidarity. Secondly, the critical category of guilt is considered. The author contests that critical theory has long understood the importance of working through guilt as a social problem, but lacks the nuanced understanding and methods for the resolution of guilt contained in psychoanalysis. Finally, sublimation and identification are considered in relation to the reality principle. The author notes that critical theory consistently rejects these theories, which are seen as processes that adapt the subject to domination, and reimagines them as central to the development of autonomy and social agency. As a whole, the dissertation reclaims psychoanalysis as an ally to critical theory’s efforts to restore subjectivity and oppose systemic domination in modernity.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Amy Lynn Buzby
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.