MRI Forum 24

"Œdipus in Asia and the resistance to Psychoanalysis"

by Geoffrey Blowers


Summary of the Presentation

In this talk, the speaker will examine some attempts made in the 1920s and 1930s in India, Japan and China to introduce Freud's psychoanalytic ideas and the resistances they met. Beginning with Ernest Jones' famous retort to Malinowski's enquiry about the Œdipus complex in natives of the Trobriand islands, he will relate how, in the above mentioned countries, particular individuals had direct forms of communication with Freud and went on to offer specifically cultural variants on his theory of the Œdipus Complex. In all cases Freud remained cool to these ideas, even though, he argues, they were done as part of a general indigenising process to make Freud's ideas more palatable to and equated with indigenous beliefs of the cultures. The presentation will conclude with a discussion of the implications of this account for the present and future possibilities of Psychoanalysis in Asia.

Profile of the Speaker

Geoffrey Blowers is Professor in the Department of Psychology and Associate Dean in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Hong Kong. He is co-editor with Alison Turtle of Psychology Moving East: the status of Western Psychology in Asia and Oceania (Westview, 1987), co-author with Kieron O'Connor of Personal Construct Psychology in the Clinical Context (Ottawa/Montreal U.P, 1996) and has published papers on the reception of psychology and psychoanalysis in China and Japan.