Freud’s "Cold Wars": Christianization and desexualization of psychoanalysis in the post-war United States

Author/s Dagmar Herzog
Publishing Year 2017 Issue 2017/1 Language Italian
Pages 36 P. 25-60 File size 696 KB
DOI 10.3280/PU2017-001003
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In no other time and place was Freudian psychoanalysis more successful, and psychiatry more psychoanalytic, than in the first two Cold War decades in the U.S. This was also a time and place when psychoanalysis was intensely conservative - especially sexually conservative. This was not merely a product of generalized Cold War trends, but rather a major side-effect of massive, widely broadcast battles over the relationship between religion and psychoanalysis that marked the years 1947-1953 in particular. The "Jewish science" of psychoanalysis underwent a process of "Christianization" in the post-war U.S. - even as religion became "psychologised". In addition, the paper shows how deep ambivalence about the status and the very meaning of the concept of "libido" was at the heart of a succession of fierce controversies and rivalries that helped determine the directions taken by post-war psychoanalysis and psychiatry.

Keywords: Desexualization; Christianization; Karen Horney; Karl Menninger; Neo-Freudianism

Dagmar Herzog, Le "guerre fredde" freudiane: cristianizzazione e desessualizzazione della psicoanalisi negli Stati Uniti del dopoguerra in "PSICOTERAPIA E SCIENZE UMANE" 1/2017, pp 25-60, DOI: 10.3280/PU2017-001003