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After Freud LeftA Century of Psychoanalysis in America$
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John C. Burnham

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226081373

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226081397.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

Freud, Anxiety, and the Cold War

Freud, Anxiety, and the Cold War

(p.189) Seven Freud, Anxiety, and the Cold War
After Freud Left

Louis Menand

University of Chicago Press

This chapter describes a second major theme in the midcentury American cultural context—anxiety—which it considers as a concept that came to mark the era just after World War II. It specifically suggests that one reason for the “fit” between Freudianism and postwar American culture had to do with what might be called the Cold War discourse of anxiety, which Freudianism formalized. Cold War conditions toned the existing discourses, and an example was the discourse of anxiety. Anxiety played a significant part in atheistic existentialism, and this was a place where the wires get somewhat crossed. The Cold War discourse of anxiety was shown to be a somewhat improbable amalgam of European existentialism, psychoanalytic theory, some sociology and the history of ideas, and the promotional practices of the pharmaceutical industry.

Keywords:   anxiety, World War II, Freudianism, postwar American culture, Cold War, atheistic existentialism, psychoanalytic theory, sociology, pharmaceutical industry, European existentialism

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