Fantasy in Practice

Projection and Introjection, or the Witch and the Spirit-Medium

in Social Analysis
Author: Michael Lambek1
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  • 1 University of Toronto
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What is the relationship of psychoanalysis to questions of dignity, self-respect and respect for others?1 How, ultimately can we link Freud with Aristotelian concerns for eudaimonia – human flourishing – and for phronesis – sustained moral judgement?2 If Freud rightly tempers Aristotle’s optimism, how might Aristotelian questions illuminate and complement Freudian forays into personhood? If repression is defined as a state of disconnection and disavowal, of nonacknowledgement of one’s own thoughts and acts, then it is morally and politically problematic. Repression generates projection, in which accountability is displaced onto others. However, I argue that in some instances, and given the appropriate cultural means, it may provoke a dialectical return. Such introjection provides the opportunity for gradual reconnection, recognition and, ideally, the acknowledgement of responsibility.

Social Analysis

The International Journal of Anthropology


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