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Freud's Foes

Psychoanalysis, Science, and Resistance

Kurt Jacobsen

Freud's Foes, the latest title in the Polemics series, addresses Freud's fiercest contemporary critics. Kurt Jacobsen defends psychoanalysis, while accepting that it has inherent flaws. He argues that although today's 'foes' pose as daring savants, they are only the latest wave of critics that psychoanalysis has encountered since its controversial birth, and he easily debunks their arguments. « less more »
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 196Size: 6 1/2 x 9 1/2
978-0-7425-2263-3 • Hardback • August 2009 • $76.00 • (£49.95)
978-0-7425-2264-0 • Paperback • April 2011 • $33.00 • (£22.95)
978-0-7425-6634-7 • eBook • August 2009 • $31.00 • (£21.95)
Series: Polemics
Kurt Jacobsen is a research associate for the Program on International Politics at the University of Chicago. He is also the book review editor for Logos.
Chapter 1: Science and the Psyche
Chapter 2: Birth Pangs
Chapter 3: Psychoanalysis Versus Cultural Lesions
Chapter 4: Medicine and Invisible Wounds
Chapter 5: Biological Veneers and Corporate Elixirs
Chapter 6: Short Cuts to Tall Tales

About the Author
Kurt Jacobsen brings a verve and energy to Freud's defense that is more often found in the writings of his enemies. His counterattack in the 'Freud Wars' contrasts Freud's enlightened thinking with the ignorance and cruelty of much of the orthodox psychiatry of his time.
Michael Rustin, University of East London, author of The Good Society and the Inner World

Today when illness and unhappiness are attributed to chemical or genetic configurations Freud has become a has-been; no one seems more irrelevant than the old doctor from Vienna. Yet with verve and insight Kurt Jacobsen shows in Freud's Foes that the psychiatrists and Freud critics ply their own myths. The 'revolution in psychiatry' that pushes prescription drugs for everything just might be a counter-revolution. A bold, smart and refreshing effort to set the record straight, Freud's Foes deserves to be widely read and discussed.
Russell Jacoby, University of California Los Angeles

Written by a political scientist, this book is a breath of fresh air-an intelligent, spirited, and informed defense of Freud's oeuvre and contribution. . . . Jacobsen's assessment of science is informed, as is the social critique concerning whether or not Freud overdid sex in his theory. The author deals adroitly with the theory and culture surrounding psychoanalysis, neither suffering fools nor mincing words. . . . This book provides rich fodder for debate. Highly recommended.
CHOICE, December 2009

Freud's Foes is not only a well-grounded examination of Freud's enduring contributions to modern psychotherapy, psychology, and other sciences; it could bring about a revolution in our thinking. Without turning a blind eye to the difficulties and shortcomings of psychoanalysis, this book shows that Freud was indeed a scientist of high acuity. It avoids the traps into which the foes regularly fall—succumbing to the temptation of "magic bullets" and to a pseudo-scientific search for quick, simple, one-sided answers instead of acknowledging the complexity of external factors interacting with psychic reality. I do not know a more impressive book about the modern reception of psychoanalysis and its consequences; I highly recommend it for all interested readers.
Sylvia Zwettler-Otte, former president, Viennese Psychoanalytic Society

Freud's Foes is important, accurate, and informative. In a brief compass, it lays bare the tenacious and pullulating power of supposedly neutral or objective “outcome studies” to overtake and consume a matter as close to a culture's core needs as the study of the human mind. Its special contribution lies in explicating and critiquing the illusions that underlie the current faith in pharmacology, high-tech solutions, brain research, and other wonders. Jacobsen's story raises broad, general questions concerning the place of science in society, as well as the need to restore the line not so much between science and falsehood as between the kinds of questions that can be answered in a causal and deterministic manner, and the kind that require self-reflection, democratic deliberation and cultural exploration....Given the fact that the present administration, more than any previous one, speaks the language of outcome studies, Jacobsen's book is all the more welcome.
Eli Zaretsky; Perspectives on Politics

Kurt Jacobsen's Freud's Foes is an energetically and clearly argued book by an author who has read everything of relevance in the biography of the "Freud Wars." It is a poor sportsman who cannot enjoy its bracing wit, its sensible historical argument, or its slashing style of sarcastic one-liners.... Hurrah for Jacobsen! He tells us why the "Freud Wars" are being fought and why psychoanalysts need to re-enlist.
Book Reviews

Freud's Foes is informed, engaging and brilliantly written... It is a successful defense of Freud from his attackers, a concise cultural history of psychology, and an illustration of the tension that exists between technological progress and cultural impoverishment. It should prove of interest to intellectuals in many fields, and Jacobsen's wit makes it a joy to read.
New Political Science, Volume 32, Number 2 June 2010 pp. 303-305