Conference: The Effectiveness of Symbols

Freud Museum London: Psychoanalysis Podcasts show

Summary: Part 1: Stefan Marianski - IntroductionBy means of introduction, Stefan will present a short synopsis of Levi-Strauss’ paper ‘The Effectiveness of Symbols’, discussing some of its key ideas, its psychoanalytic influences, and how Levi-Strauss’ thought was in turn taken up within psychoanalysis.Why do symbols have such a powerful influence on human beings?This question lies at the heart of both psychoanalysis and anthropology. In his seminal paper ‘The Effectiveness of Symbols’, French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss compared the healing practices of shamans and psychoanalysts in terms of the structuring effects of symbol and language on the body.Lévi-Strauss opened up new ways of thinking about the symbolic dimension of human life, offering a subtle reformulation of the Freudian unconscious and putting forward a theory of symbolic function that continues to resonate within both fields.This conference brings together eminent speakers from the fields of psychoanalysis and anthropology to reflect on Lévi-Strauss’ paper and its influence, and to discuss symbolic effectiveness in their own research and practice.