Proceedings Journal Article — Oriental(ist) Scenes: Orientalism of Psychoanalysis / Psychoanalysis of Orientalism — by Frank Scherer


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This paper proposes to explore the “Orient” that emerges in the writings of Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). Largely biblical or in Minor Asian key, Freud’s Orient pertains not so much to the field of area studies as it delineates defining features of his modernist Weltanschauung which isinevitably caught up with the founding of psychoanalysis as a general interpretative science. If the 19th century saw the birth of modernOrientalism in the sense of Edward Said’s (1978) path breaking and, at the same time, precarious critique, it also witnessed the unraveling of European colonial pretensions on a global scale. Freud’s Orientalist discourse mirrors, in this context, not just European ambitions abroad, but—in an atmosphere of growing nationalist fragmentation of an otherwise multi-national Austro-Hungarian Empire and accompanied by themassive influx of so-called Ostjuden (Eastern Jews)—a mise-en-scene of the “Occidental” self.

Recommended Citation

Scherer, Frank. 2005. “Oriental(ist) Scenes: Orientalism of Psychoanalysis / Psychoanalysis of Orientalism.” Pp. 95-102 in Theories and Praxes of Difference: Revisiting Edward Said in the Age of New Globalizations: Proceedings of the Second Annual Social Theory Forum, April 6-7, 2005 (Discourse of Sociological Practice, Vol. 7, Issues 1&2, Fall/Spring 2005). Double-Issue Guest Editor: Mohammad H. Tamdgidi. Sociology Department, UMass Boston.

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