Psychoanalysis and marxism

Jon Beasley-Murray jpb8 at
Fri Apr 28 09:05:12 MDT 1995

To add some more points of departure...

I've always been a fan of the anti-psychiatry of RD Laing and David Cooper
(the former's _The Divided Self_ and the latter's _The Death of the
Family_ are, as I remember, the classics, though Laing wrote much more:
_Sanity, Madness and the Family_ and _Knots_ for example).  Essentially
they are interested in the social causes of mental illness, though their
philosophical outlook was Satreian (?) existentialism, which has never
held out so many charms for me.  _The Death of the Family_ is very 60s,
but I think Laing's work holds up.

I don't think either of these really made it to the US but back in the UK
I was told to read Laing from an early age.

I believe that anti-psychiatry was a European phenomenon, and the
connections between Cooper and Guattari are demonstrated in that Cooper
wrote the introduction to Guattari's _Molecular Revolution_.  Jameson
then stole the phrase "politicial unconscious" from Guattari (although I
haven't found its original formulation) and, more generally, his _PU_
could be seen as in some ways a rather anxious reply to _Anti-Oedipus_.

Take care


Jon Beasley-Murray
Literature Program
Duke University
jpb8 at

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