Book Reviews -- Psychoanalysis and the Postmodern Impulse by Barnaby B. Barratt

By Grotstein, James S. | American Journal of Psychotherapy, Spring 1994 | Go to article overview

Book Reviews -- Psychoanalysis and the Postmodern Impulse by Barnaby B. Barratt


Grotstein, James S., American Journal of Psychotherapy


BARNABY B. BARRATT: Psychoanalysis and the Postmodern Impulse. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993, 262 pp. $38.50.

Dr. Barratt distinguishes between psychoanalysis as a revolutionary science of discourse and as a scientific doctrine ("a melange of theories"). In so doing, he claims that one of the purposes of his work is to differentiate between psychoanalysis as a revolutionary form of discourse and "psychoanalysis," using the quotations to designate psychoanalysis as a body of scientific laws attesting to its being a "modern" science in contradistinction with its postmodern, revolutionary, deconstructive, questioning form of discourse. As a matter of fact, he claims that the very fact of the advent of "psychoanalysis" has contributed to the ending of the "modern" era while still maintaining its "modernity" in its conformity to scientific establishment aims.

It is to psychoanalysis as a discourse on discourse, ultimately, that Barratt focuses his attention on the "post-modern impulse" aspects of it. What the author seems to be getting at, I believe, is that we take for granted certain philosophical fixities by which we standardize our philosophical and ontological relationship to our world, i.e., how we account for the relationship between things and between things in ourselves, between presence and absence, how we conceive of such ideas as identity, duality, totality, happenings, etc.

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