Freud and the Limits of Bourgeois Individualism


Offering an in-depth interpretation of Sigmund Freud’s 'collective' or 'social' works, León Rozitchner insists that the Left should consider the ways in which capitalism inscribes its power in the subject as the site for the verification of history. Thus, after a brief commentary on Freud’s New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, the present book provides the reader with a chapter-by-chapter analysis of Civilisation and Its Discontents and Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego. Freud’s views, according to Rozitchner’s original reading, offer a striking contribution to a materialist theory and history of subjectivity.

This book was first published in Spanish as Freud y los límites del individualismo burgués by Siglo XXI Editores, 1972.

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León Rozitchner (1924-2011) was a major philosopher and militant intellectual in Argentina. After studying at the Sorbonne in Paris with Maurice Merleau-Ponty (PhD, 1960), he returned home only to confront the terror of military coups and dictatorships, which for several years forced him into exile in Venezuela. After the so-called transition to democracy in 1983, he taught for many years at the University of Buenos Aires.

Bruno Bosteels, PhD (1995), is Professor of Latin American Cultures and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and the author of several books on Latin American politics and culture as well as on European philosophy and political theory. He is one of the main translators of Alain Badiou’s works in English.
“Rozitchner’s reading is explanatory and cathartic, both for the writer and the reader [...] Freud and the limits of Bourgeois is not an easy book to translate, yet Bruno Bosteels has done an excellent job, rendering Rozitchner’s unruly oceanic discourse into plain English, adding a valuable introduction that presents the author, his work, the political and intellectual contexts from which Rozitchner’s work arises, and an index absent in the original.”. Michael Maidan, in Marx & Philosophy Review of books, 2022.
‘Freud and the Limits of Bourgeois Individualism’ by Léon Rozitchner reviewed by Michael Maidan – Marx & Philosophy Society

Translator’s Introduction

Part One: The Internal Distance

Chapter 1 The Articulation and the Breach

Part Two: The External Distance

Chapter 2 Civilisation and Its Discontents
I. The Historical Categories, Foundation of the Psychic Apparatus
II. Techniques to Elude the Reality of the External World
III. Analysis of the Real Obstacle
IV. The Historical Foundation of the Lack of Discernment
V. The Negation of Aggressiveness
VI. Out of Hunger Not Being Capable of Love
VII. The Halting of Aggressiveness Due to Guilt
VIII. Ideology, the Concealment of Guilt's True Content
IX. Transformation of the Fundamental Bourgeois Categories

Chapter 3 Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego
I. Introduction
II. Critique of the Bourgeois Conceptions of the Group (continuation)
III. The Amplification of the Body Beyond Dependency
IV. The Official Institutions are Groups Congruent with the System
V. The Discernment Repressed
VI. The Human Form as Index of the Coherence of the Social System
VII. Being in Love and Hypnosis: From Individual Dependency to Social Dependency
VIII. The Return to the Historical Origin
IX. Dialectic of Collective Forms: From the Primal Horde to the Fraternal Alliance
X. The Mass, Stage or Battlefield

The book is directed to anyone interested in the dialogues and crossroads between marxism and psychoanalysis, particularly on alternative interpretations of Sigmund Freud's 'collective' or 'social' works. The book is also relevant to a materialist theory and history of subjectivity.
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