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Invited commentary on the interview with Jan Stensson

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What kinds of archive can be employed to reconstruct the history of psychoanalysis in a particular country? In addition to official and institutionally controlled archives, there are private archives created by people who, for personal reasons, have collected documents of particular interest to themselves pertaining to the transmission of a psychoanalytic legacy. This article highlights the broad scope of information that these different types of archive may yield. The question of archives also brings up issues such as psychoanalytic legacy and its transmission. Jan Stensson took an interest in psychoanalysis during a period of conflict and controversy within the Swedish Psychoanalytic Society (associated to the IPA). He chose to join forces with a small group of dissidents who severed their ties with the Swedish society. Carl Lesche (1920–1993) was highly influential within the Swedish Psychoanalytic Society from the late 1950s up to his death. He was driven by the notion of “pure psychoanalysis,” which he claimed should be distinguished from other forms of psychotherapy and medical treatment. Lesche's line of reasoning had a significant impact. Stensson carried out his work in the shadow of the IPA-associated psychoanalytic society. The article poses the question of whether the future holds the potential for a situation in which established institutions and less institutionalized groupings can coexist in a non-hostile manner and mutually inspire and stimulate each other.
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Keywords: Archive; historical reconstruction; institutional power; transmission of a psychoanalytic legacy

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2006

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