Néstor A. Braunstein – In memoriam

[Automatic translation from Catalan]:

As a Catalan psychoanalytic journal, we have received with great sadness the news of the death of our colleague Néstor A. Braunstein, one of the most important figures in Latin American psychoanalysis of the last 50 years. As secretary I have been commissioned to write this obituary.

The best way to remember someone to whom we owe a lot, and who has just died, is to remember his work and look at the effect that this work had on our psychoanalytic community. This obituary wants to acknowledge the debt that many psychoanalysts currently owe to Nestor A. Braunstein.

Probably of his many works and publications, what deserves to be most enthusiastically claimed is the book he directed and wrote an important part entitled: Psychology: Ideology and Science (1975). Published by the publishing house Siglo XXI Editores, whom played a crucial role in the spread of psychoanalytic and Marxist thought for almost half a century.

This book, which I have reviewed with excitement over the last few days in preparation for this obituary, among other articles and books by the deceased, has made a great impact on me. Considering that its first edition was published in 1975 and its tenth in 1984, read well into the 21st century, the actuality of the issues makes it seem as if the text was written yesterday.

I found myself with a surprise that I did not remember: this magnificent and absolutely current book carried a prologue worth all its weight in gold written by Marie Langer.

Néstor Braunstein’s work has the effective radicality of building hard, critical and dialectical theory between social structure and subjectivity. The psychological conflict and the political conflict. The academic psychology that is taught in faculties and the critical, revolutionary character of the theory and practice of psychoanalysis.  His works have contributed to the evolution of various schools and theoretical positions.

From the methodological and epistemological point of view, Braunstein’s work is of enormous significance, more so, in the logic of postmodernity we encounter a permanent rejection to rigorously study what separates everyday thought—in Lucacks’ words—from thought with a scientific, critical and committed vocation.

But that is not all: Braunstein has also been one of the psychoanalysts who has dared to lead to the analysis of psychoanalysis itself, its theoretical conceptions, the forms of psychoanalysis practice, and the ethical implications in a world drive crazy by the crises of the capitalist mode of production in the terminal phase: economic crisis, ecological crisis, symbolic crisis.

Since the journal Papers of Psychoanalysis, we send our best condolences to his family in testimony of gratitude for everything that he has contributed to the defense of psychoanalysis in a world of unique organic and biologist thinking, where moral suffering wants to be permanently erased as if it did not exist. Knowing also his stoic death, we join the pain of those who have known him in the hope that they will know that his life and work have not been in vain.

Oriol Marti
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