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The Political Psyche Paperback – September 11, 1993

ISBN-13: 978-0415081023 ISBN-10: 0415081025 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; First Edition edition (September 11, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415081025
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415081023
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,090,354 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Andrew Samuels reconstitutes the relations between mind and power. . . . This is an ambitious, honest, radical and well-informed book written in a style free of jargon and warmly dialogical.
–Peter Homans, University of Chicago

A passionate and compelling case for connecting inner and outer worlds, and for clinicians' greater political involvement--in their training, with their patients and, above all, in the outer world.
–Lynne Segal

A splendid bringing together of Jungian, post-Jungian and Freudian thought in an effort to link psychology and politics . . . a stimulating and thoroughly original book.
–Paul Roazen

A courageous book . . . richer than I can describe . . . thoughtful and illuminating . . . challenges all depth psychologists to wake up from prejudices. . . . [Samuels] carries me along with the great wisdom and merit of his goal. He wants to speak the unspoken. . . . He does that extremely well and brings us all to new awarenesses about the crucial links between politics and depth psychology in our practice and theory.
–Polly Young-Eisendrath, Harvest, Fall 1993

Celebrate the publication of The Political Psyche.
The Guardian

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Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Andrew Samuels's work to 'deconstruct' Jungian psychology, along with his calumniation of Jung's character, as delineated in "The Political Psyche", builds on the Marxist notion that political consciousness is foundational to mankind, i.e. that we are political beings. In Marx's view, "consciousness was always political, for it was always the outcome of politic-economic circumstances. What one thinks of life, power, and self, for Marx, is always a product of ideological forces" (cf. Wikipedia).

To this Marxist notion, Samuels adds the *unconscious* political dimension, because the "failure to grasp the unconscious dimension of the treatment relationship between political analyst and political process marred much Marxist analysis of politics" (p.30). It follows that "any conception of the unconscious or the psyche that omits to refer to social institutions and political processes will be inadequate" (p.55).

Thus, S. introduces the concept of the "innate political potential" and "innate political level" of the unconscious psyche. It means that "making politics is innate in humans [and] there is an innate desire in humans to change social and political reality" (p.57). Accordingly, individuation takes the form of "political development". A politically individuated person has appropriated a "libertarian and progressive" view along with a "pluralist" approach to psychology, sexuality, gender, ethnicity, etc. Those who have not attained the political level of leftism, feminism, and multiculturalism, etc., are either to be regarded as immature or pathological. "Their political potential may be repressed so that his or her contribution to political process is stunted and distorted" (p.55).

Political development follows the principles of Freudian object-relations.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sarah E. Stevens on September 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
I have only read 70 pages so far, but this book seems like a perfect educational tool for what is going on in today's society. Political/emotional explosions in politics&culture(esp. in the U.S. right now) go much deeper than simple policy opinions, deep into the psyche and the imagery with which we identify as human beings on an individual as well as collective scale.
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11 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 29, 1998
Format: Paperback
A fascinating topic, not helped by a desultory and superficial presentation. The field is inviting: politics, perhaps one of the great venues for projection, begs psychological insight. It's obviously extraordinarily difficult to produce the kind of insight which does justice to the field. This book's problem is not its prose, which is o.k. Rather, it exemplifies the great problem that attends to such analyses: it resorts to assertion rather than data and thus becomes a long document of personal opinion. One may agree, or not, but ultimately this seems less interesting and less satisfying.
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