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The Essential Ellen Willis$
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Ellen Willis and Nona Willis Aronowitz

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780816681204

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816681204.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MINNESOTA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.minnesota.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MNSO for personal use.date: 18 May 2022

The Cultural Unconsciousin American Politics

The Cultural Unconsciousin American Politics

Why We Need a Freudian Left

(p.477) The Cultural Unconsciousin American Politics
The Essential Ellen Willis

Nona Willis Aronowitz

University of Minnesota Press

Excerpts from a book-length project tentatively titled “The Cultural Unconscious in American Politics: Why We Need a Freudian Left” are presented. This book begins by discussing the cultural radical impulse that emerged during the mid-1960s and reached the peak of its influence around the turn of the decade. It cites how large segments of the middle class, and millions of young people of all classes, regarded freedom, pleasure, and self-expression—sexual and otherwise—as important personal and social values. It then considers the defeat of cultural radicalism and traces the key events and attitudes conditioning the retreat from a bold feminism and, more broadly, radicalism. Finally, the book addresses Sigmund Freud’s ideas about the influence of the unconscious on human behavior, especially the compelling power of libido. It presents examples of how sexuality and its cultural implications can help shed light on both history and social life.

Keywords:   cultural radicalism, Ellen Willis, The Cultural Unconscious in American Politics, feminism, Sigmund Freud, unconscious, libido, sexuality, politics, left

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