Small City on a Big Couch

A Psychoanalysis of a Provincial Mexican City


This book psychoanalyzes a small Mexican city to figure out how the city makes sense of both herself and her many Others in the face of constant change. It puts the city on the couch and works through her past and present relationships, analyzing issues surrounding sexuality, the compulsion to repeat, transferences and desires.

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Karen Rodríguez is on the faculty in both the Visual Arts Department and the Postgraduate Program in the Arts at the Universidad de Guanajuato, Mexico. She is also the director of the CIEE Study Center in Guanajuato.
"In this fascinating case study, Karen Rodríguez places the provincial city of Guanajuato on the couch and leads us though a fascinating tour of the town’s back alleys, repressed drives, destructive impulses, and tales of love. Along the way, the author engages in a fascinating discussion of Julia Kristeva’s work and its relation to Mexican culture. A must read for those interested in contemporary Mexico." – Rubén Gallo, Princeton University
"In the heart of Mexico lies the small city of Guanajuato. The city is unruly, constantly thwarting attempts to impose order upon her. In part, this has to do with the physical form of the city and with its awkward topography. In part, it has to do with a painful colonial past and a difficult economic present. Yet, by putting the city on the couch, Karen Rodríguez discovers how Guanajuato’s desires, joys and anxieties are experienced and expressed. On the couch, Guanajuato offers Rodríguez a vast array of fascinating material to interpret: from saints to the Virgin Mary, from posters to painters, from novels to t-shirts, from local legend to opera. Against the common trend to see the global city as “the place to be”, Rodríguez argues that it is very far from misplaced to take another look at small cities. This book is by turns, surprising, thought-provoking, funny, inventive and deeply serious. A real treat that will last long in the mind." – Steve Pile, Open University, UK
Small City on a Big Couch
The Presenting Problem: Digestive Issues in the Contact Zone
Deeper Desires: The Colonial Present, a Don Quijote Fetish, and Maternal Issues
Calladita, te ves más bonita: Analyzing Silences and Erasures
Releases and Returns: Sex and the (Provincial) City
Transferences: Of Cities and Analysts
Revolt, They Said: Two Virgins, One Indian Princess, and the T-shirt Girl
Tales of Love and Life After Analysis: Of Art, Opera, and Halloween
Conclusions: The Small City Succeeds Where the Global City Might Not
About the Author