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Against the Disembraining Machine. What is Psychoanalysis (Still) Capable of?


With the intensification of the practices of social networks and the phobia of the internal world, operationalist thinking ends up presenting itself as a (false) universal and automatic response to the human need for meaning and sharing. What can psychoanalysis do in the face of such a hypothesis? What concepts does it have at its disposal to think about the psychic impoverishment and hatred that seem to crystallize the pain of thinking that characterizes our times?

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Correspondence to Ana de Staal.

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*A version of this paper was published in French in Lettres de la Société de Psychanalyse Freudienne, 44, June 2021, Paris, France. A different version of this text has first been published in Portuguese in Percurso 62/2019, XXXI, São Paulo, Brazil.

Ana de Staal is a psychoanalyst, member of the Freudian Psychoanalysis Society (SPF), and psychosomatist. Having studied philosophy and dramaturgy, with master’s degrees from the University of Sorbonne Paris III and the University of Paris VIII, she is a specialist in theatrical aesthetics and publishes psychoanalytic material in France.

Address correspondence to: Ana de Staal, rue Alphonse Daudet, 75014 Paris, France Email:

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de Staal, A. Against the Disembraining Machine. What is Psychoanalysis (Still) Capable of?. Am J Psychoanal 81, 431–443 (2021).

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  • operational thinking
  • psychoanalytic function of the personality
  • hatred: social networks
  • subjectivation
  • subjecticide