Author's Talk: Freud and Culture, Eric Smadja
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Author's Talk: Freud and Culture, Eric Smadja

Author's Talk: Freud and Culture, Eric Smadja

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Freud Museum London

20 Maresfield Gardens

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In Freud and Culture, we explore the representations of society and culture that Freud developed in the course of his work and we shall distinguish two periods. Distinct from contemporary sociological and anthropological conceptions, they led to his construction of a personal socio-anthropology that was virulently criticised by the social sciences. But what exactly is meant here by “culture” and “society”? Do we mean Freud’s own Viennese society or Western “civilised” society in general? In addition, Freud was interested in historical and “primitive” societies from the evolutionist perspective of the British anthropologists of his time. Our work considers the interrelationship between these different societies and cultures, and raises many questions. What constitutes a culture? What are its essential traits, its functions, its relationships with society, for example. Moreover, we present the Freudian central notion of Kulturarbeit, which is constructed from a strictly Freudian perspective.

Eric Smadja is a psychiatrist, a psychoanalyst, a member of the Société psychanalytique de Paris and of the International Psychoanalytical Association, a couples psychoanalyst. He is also an anthropologist, an associate member of the American Anthropological Association and a member of the Society for Psychological Anthropology.

In 2007, he was awarded the IPA’s Prize for “Exceptional Contribution made to Psychoanalytical Research”.

His works are pluri and interdisciplinary in nature and his current research deals with : “Freud, Durkheim and Mauss: on Symbolism and Symbolization”

He is the author of the following books:

-       Laughter (Le Rire)Que sais-je” series, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, April 1993 (1st ed.), September 2011 (4th ed.); 1st English edition, September 2013 (College Publications, London);

-       The Oedipus Complex, Crystallizer of the Debate between Psychoanalysis and Anthropology (Le complexe d’Œdipe, cristallisateur du débat psychanalyse/anthropologie), Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2009. An English forthcoming edition by Routledge in June 2017.

-       The Couple: A Pluridisciplinary Story (Le Couple et son Histoire) Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, March 2011 (1st edition) ; 1st English edition in June 2016 (Routledge).

-        Couples in Psychoanalysis (Ed.) (Couples en psychanalyse) (Dir.), Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, May 2013.

-       Freud and Culture (Freud et la Culture), Paris : Presses Universitaires de France, September 2013 ; A first English Edition by Karnac Books and The International Psychoanalytical Association.

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