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    The vicissitudes of psychoanalysis in Soviet Russia, 1930-1980

    van Munsteren, Lizaveta (2023) The vicissitudes of psychoanalysis in Soviet Russia, 1930-1980. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    This thesis explores the vicissitudes of psychoanalysis in Soviet Russia, 1930-1980. By looking at academic events and a wide range of public press and scholarly publications in that period I argue that discussion around psychoanalysis still existed after its so-called ‘ban’ in the 1930s. Its presence, however, cannot be traced in explicit references to Freud, due to the ideological restrictions and the transformation of Soviet society following the rise of Stalin. Within psychology, this led to the forced shift to physiology with the further transformation of the conceptual apparatus and the establishment of the so-called Stalinist model. However, as we will see, Alexander Luria, Dmitry Uznadze, and Bluma Zeigarnik continued to approach the subject in a way that was specific to psychoanalysis and derived from their early encounters with Freud’s ideas. Moreover, in their work, we see many psychoanalytic ideas confirmed experimentally, especially in the work around aphasia, schizophrenia, and other mental disturbances. The growing split between the dimensions of official language and everyday life between 1930 and 1980 produced multiple strategies of co-existence with authoritarian discourses. My work suggests that some of these strategies were widely used in academia from the late 1950s to continue the discussion around psychoanalysis. With the efforts of Filipp Bassin, a form of psychoanalysis was revitalized and focused on the unconscious and psychosomatic medicine. This inquiry helps us answer the questions of how psychoanalysis influenced Soviet psychologists and physiologists, and of what use their theories can be today. Further, it touches on the broader question of the subject in totalitarian society and science under repression. The thesis deploys a psychosocial approach that incorporates psychoanalytic concepts such as afterwardsness, splitting and negation in thinking about history and science. It nuances the existing historiography on psychoanalysis in Soviet Russia that predominantly sees psychoanalysis as ‘forbidden’ and ‘disappeared’ during this period.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2023 12:52
    Last Modified: 01 Nov 2023 16:05


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