The Psychoanalytic Movement: The Cunning of Unreason / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $8.09
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 71%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (5) from $8.09   
  • New (3) from $25.10   
  • Used (2) from $8.56   


How did the language of psychoanalysis become the dominant idiom in which the middle classes of the industrialized West speak about their emotions? Ernest Gellner offers a forceful and complex answer to this intriguing question in The Psychoanalytic Movement. This landmark study argues that although psychoanalysis offers an incisive picture of human nature, it provides untestable operational definitions and makes unsubstantiated claims concerning its therapeutic efficacy. In a new foreword Jose Brunner expands on the central argument of The Psychoanalytic Movement. Placing Gellner's work in the context of contemporary hostile critiques of Freud, Brunner argues that these two blatantly different thinkers might also be seen as kindred spirits.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
The Psychoanalytic Movement was recognized as aclassic upon its publication. José Brunner's new introductionplaces the argument within the context of “the Freudwars”, making it clear that the book was as concerned toexplain the fabulous success of psychoanalysis as to debunk itspretensions. This may be Gellner's greatest book, containing as itdoes a general view of the history of philosophy and the characterof modernity.’ John A. Hall, McGill University

Previous praise for The Psychoanalytic Movement:

‘A marvel… This is a brilliantly written book, everypage sparkling with intelligence, style and substance. Gellnerprovides a welcome and literate overview of the latest philosophiccontroversy about the logical status of psychoanalyticpropositions. Its every page instructs and enlivens and representsa tribute to humane intelligence.’ New Statesman

‘In a stylish, witty and deceptively readable book,Gellner exposes the secular religious nature of the psychoanalyticenterprise. He admits that a compelling, charismatic belief mustpossess more than merely the promise of succour in a plague andlinks with the background convictions of the age.’Nature

‘This is the first determined effort to account for a veryodd historical and sociological phenomenon in realistic andmeaningful terms…and it makes very good sense. Gellner isincisive, agreeable to read and often witty.’ Institute ofPsychiatry Journal

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810113701
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press
  • Publication date: 8/12/1996
  • Series: Rethinking Theory Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 241
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Ernest Gellner was born in Paris in 1925, and was educated in Prague and England. He was professor of philosophy and sociology at the London School of Economics from 1949 to 1984. In 1984 he became the William Wyse Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. He is the author of Nations and Nationalism (Blackwell Publishers, 1983), Anthropology and Politics (Blackwell Publishers, 1996), and Encounters with Nationalism (Blackwell Publishers, 1995). Dr Gellner died in 1995.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Second Edition
1 Back to Nature 1
2 The Plague 27
3 The Pirandello Effect 39
4 On the Rack 65
5 The Cunning Broker 85
6 Reality Regained 108
7 The Embourgolsement of the Psyche 120
8 Anatomy of a Falth 130
9 The Bounds of Science 156
10 La Therapie Imaginaire 177
Appendix 194
Notes 196
Select Bibliography 205
Index 207
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)