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social sciences

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Freud, Sigmund (1856-1939)  
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With the introduction of this duality, Freud broaches a conception of psychic life that alternates between the affirmation of life and its dialectical negation, death conceived as the aim of life. By drawing death within the explicit scope of psychoanalytical theory, Freud produced one of his most powerful arguments to counter the often raised objection concerning his supposed pansexualism.

Psychoanalysis and Sexual Difference

Some of his most innovative ideas of the 1920s Freud regarded as "speculations" or "working hypotheses" worth considering, although not necessarily sustained by previous psychoanalytical theory. Focusing on such hypotheses, Herbert Marcuse in Eros and Civilization (1957) sought to develop the "philosophy of psychoanalysis" implicit in Freud's theory of man. In Marcuse's interpretation, issues such as the revaluation of fantasy and the aesthetic dimension, the redefinition of progress, and the reassessment of the role of play in a non-repressive culture define the core of Freud's emancipatory potential.

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Despite the centrality of Eros in his book, Marcuse made no serious effort to revisit Freud's theory of sexual difference, whose unexamined premises undermined the libertarian tendencies at work in the psychoanalytical conception of man. Marcuse's evasion of the issue is all the more surprising, because he could have easily recalled that, in the formative years of psychoanalysis, Freud's contemporary Magnus Hirschfeld had propounded a theoretical alternative to the disjunctive scheme with which psychoanalysis operates.

Although familiar with Hirschfeld's work, Freud never acknowledged the actual relevancy of his "doctrine of sexual intermediaries" that asserted the permanent intersexual condition of all human beings and that intended to replace the traditional sexual binary with a framework of sexual plurality in which each individual is marked by a unique sexuality.

It is not by chance that Hirschfeld's insights appear to necessitate the sort of critical readings of the Freudian corpus proposed mainly in the areas of feminism, , and studies. Once the sexual Other is capable of being conceptualized in a framework of intersexual differences beyond the male/female scheme, the unconscious resources of sexuality can be set free to inform the cultural project of non-repressive sublimation.

J. Edgar Bauer

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social sciences >> Overview:  Austria

A small German-speaking country in middle Europe, Austria is now home to a thriving glbtq subculture.

social sciences >> Overview:  Bisexuality

Although until recently rejected by most sexologists as a distinct sexual identity, bisexuality is gradually becoming recognized and studied as such.

social sciences >> Overview:  Counseling

In recent years there has been a push for glbtq-sensitive counselor training and glbtq-affirmative counseling, which, although occurring slowly and encountering resistance, marks a significant move in a positive direction.

social sciences >> Overview:  Developmental Psychology

Glbtq identity development has not yet been fully integrated into mainstream theories of psychological development, but recent work promises to further our understanding of the life experiences of glbtq people.

social sciences >> Overview:  Etiology

The earliest etiologies--or theories of causation--of homosexuality date from European antiquity, but the search for a universal etiology has intensified as homosexual behavior has come under the scrutiny of science.

literature >> Overview:  German and Austrian Literature: Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

With major periodic setbacks, over the last two centuries German-speaking authors have gradually developed a gay and lesbian positive literature.

social sciences >> Overview:  Germany

While Germany, until recently, never officially accepted or welcomed members of the glbtq community, German culture and homosexuality have a long and significant history.

social sciences >> Overview:  Homosexuality

The term "homosexuality," coined in 1869, with "heterosexuality" as its opposite, has led to a binary concept that oversimplifies the complexity of human sexual behavior.

social sciences >> Overview:  Patriarchy

Patriarchy, literally "the rule of the fathers," is a social system in which men hold positions of power and women are oppressed and glbtq people are treated negatively.

social sciences >> Overview:  Psychoanalysis

Psychoanalysis, which began as a therapeutic procedure, ultimately became one of the most powerful methods of cultural analysis and critique of the twentieth-century.

social sciences >> Overview:  Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy, the clinical process of treating mental and emotional health problems, has recently been energized by a movement to depathologize homosexuality and to enhance the dignity and self-respect of glbtq clients.

social sciences >> Overview:  Reparative Therapy

Reparative therapy is a dangerously misguided attempt, supported by homophobic religious organizations, to change a person's sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual.

social sciences >> Overview:  Sexual Orientation

Sexual orientation indicates erotic attraction, whether toward people of the same gender (homosexual), the opposite gender (heterosexual), or both (bisexual).

arts >> Overview:  Subjects in the Visual Arts: Narcissus

Although the myth of Narcissus was originally intended as a moral fable against excessive pride, Narcissus has functioned in the arts as a symbol of same-sex passion, as well as of masturbation and effeminacy.

social sciences >> Overview:  Vienna

The capital of Austria, Vienna is also the country's largest city, as well as its political, economic, and cultural center, and the undisputed hub of Austrian gay and lesbian life.

social sciences >> Freud, Anna

Although she did not explicitly identify herself as a lesbian, Anna Freud, youngest daughter of Sigmund Freud and herself a psychoanalyst, was decidedly not heterosexual in any typical sense.

social sciences >> Hirschfeld, Magnus

German-born Magnus Hirschfeld deserves recognition as a significant theorist of sexuality and the most prominent advocate of homosexual emancipation of his time.

social sciences >> Krafft-Ebing, Richard von

The carefully detailed case studies of nineteenth-century psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing shed light on the sexual habits of a wide spectrum of men and women.

arts >> Leonardo da Vinci

One of the greatest painters in the history of art and an outstanding empirical scientist, Leonardo was haunted by his illegitimacy and rumors of homosexuality.

social sciences >> Marcuse, Herbert

German-born philosopher Herbert Marcuse had an enormous influence on theories of sexual liberation, particularly in the early post-Stonewall gay movement and on the left.

arts >> Teske, Edmund

American photographer Edmund Teske created a distinct and inventive body of work that embraced multiple styles and subjects, from somber urban vistas to intimate, often eroticized, portraits.

social sciences >> Ulrichs, Karl Heinrich

Nineteenth-Century German activist Karl Heinrich Ulrichs was both the first modern theorist of homosexuality and the first homosexual to "come out" publicly.


Appignanesi, Lisa, and John Forrester. Freud's Women. London: George Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1992.

Ellenberger, Henri F. The Discovery of the Unconscious: The History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry. New York: Basic Books, 1970.

Forrester, John. Dispatches from the Freud Wars: Psychoanalysis and Its Passions. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997.

Gay, Peter. A Godless Jew: Freud, Atheism, and the Making of Psychoanalysis. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1987.

Gilman, Sander L., et al., eds. Reading Freud's Reading. New York: New York University Press, 1994.

Grubrich-Simitis, Ilse. Zurück zu Freuds Texten: Stumme Dokumente sprechen machen. Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer Verlag, 1993.

Grunfeld, Frederic V. Prophets Without Honour: A Background to Freud, Kafka, Einstein and Their World. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1980.

Hocquenghem, Guy. Le désir homosexuel. Préface de Rene Schérer. Paris: Fayard, 2000.

Jones, Ernest. The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud [1953-1957]. 3 vols. New York: Basic Books, 1987.

Klein, Dennis B. Jewish Origins of the Psychoanalytic Movement. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985.

Laqueur, Thomas. Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1992.

Marcuse, Herbert. Eros and Civilization: A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud. With a New Preface by the Author. Boston: Beacon Press, 1974.

Muschg, Walter. Freud als Schriftsteller. München: Kindler Verlag, 1975.

Porge, Erik. Vol d' idées? Wilhelm Fließ, son plagiat et Freud. Suivi de "Pour ma propre cause" de Wilhelm Fließ. Paris: Éditions Denoël, 1994.

Rieff, Philip. Freud: The Mind of the Moralist. 3rd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979.

Ritvo, Lucille B. Darwin's Influence on Freud: A Tale of Two Sciences. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1990.

Roudinesco, Elisabeth. Histoire de la psychanalyse en France. 2 vols. Paris: Fayard, 1994.

Roith, Estelle. The Riddle of Freud: Jewish Influences on His Theory of Female Sexuality. London: Tavistock Publications, 1987.

Sulloway, Frank J. Freud, Biologist of the Mind: Beyond the Psychoanalytic Legend. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1992.

Szasz, Thomas. Karl Krauss and the Soul-Doctors: A Pioneer Critic and His Criticism of Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1977.

Whitebook, Joel. Perversion and Utopia: A Study in Psychoanalysis and Critical Theory. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1996.

Yerushalmi, Yosef Hayim. Freud's Moses: Judaism Terminable and Interminable. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1991.


    Citation Information
    Author: Bauer, J. Edgar  
    Entry Title: Freud, Sigmund  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated November 14, 2006  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  


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