Strategic self-marginalization: The case of psychoanalysis

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Abstract

Marginality is an important concept in the history of science, though it is often used in a manner that presumes marginality to be a static designation. We contend that the dynamics of marginality are crucial to the history of psychoanalysis, a discipline that has moved between dominant and marginal positions. We address psychoanalytic marginality via three specific “cases”: the marginalization among Freud and his followers when psychoanalysis was an emergent discipline; the marginality trope in Erich Fromm's popular psychoanalytic writing when psychoanalysis was orthodoxy in American academic psychiatry; and the rhetorical marginality of psychoanalysis in Sweden as psychoanalysis entered a decline within psychiatry. Our aim is to show that marginalization and self-marginalization serve interpersonal, social, and professional strategies. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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