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Psychoanalysis and social context in Brazil: transnational flows, cultural impact and authoritarian rule

Grant number: 15/11244-3
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: September 01, 2015 - February 28, 2018
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Social Psychology
Principal Investigator:Belinda Piltcher Haber Mandelbaum
Grantee:Belinda Piltcher Haber Mandelbaum
Host Institution: Instituto de Psicologia (IP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers: Stephen Frosh


This project investigates the conditions of emergence of psychoanalysis in Brazil,and is concerned in particular with the question of how and why the main institutions ofpsychoanalysis thrived during periods of violent dictatorship in the country (1964-1985). Thecontext is the growth and cultural pervasiveness of psychoanalysis in Brazil, along with itsunder-acknowledged influence on psychoanalytic theory and practice; and questions aboutpsychoanalysis as a site for collusion with, and resistance to, the authoritarian regime. Theresearch focuses on: 1. Institutional practices in periods of social upheaval, with reference topolitical violence. It includes the effect of authoritarian rule on psychoanalysis; therelationship between individualistic work practices such as private therapy and wider socialconditions; and what happens in post-dictatorship periods in relation to demands toacknowledge, or silence the memory of, complicity. 2. Flows and specificities of knowledge.Although Brazil has been primarily regarded as a recipient of psychoanalytic wisdom fromthe 'North', it has developed its own creative and influential modes of work, partly in responseto specific social contexts during the 20th century and extreme politics. The investigation willbe carried out through three linked methods: 1. Archival research in psychoanalyticalsocieties of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. 2. Analysis of published Brazilian psychoanalyticalliterature. 3. Extended in-depth interviews with significant psychoanalysts in Rio de Janeiroand São Paulo. The research will provide a detailed case study of the impact of politicalrepression on professional and intellectual practices; and it will chart ways in whichknowledge flows between previously colonized and colonizing cultures. (AU)

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