This work explores the justification and legitimacy of psychoanalytic knowledge, and its relevance to political and social questions. Part one explores the achievements of the British psychoanalytic tradition, relating these to recent developments in the sociological understanding of the sciences. Here the argument over the legitimacy of psychoanalysis is advanced beyond sterile polemics towards a more complex and self-confident understanding of its distinctive features and contributions. The book's second major theme concerns the relevance of psychoanalysis to social and political understanding. Psychoanalysis is here identified as a late form of "modernism" providing coherent and profound ways of thinking about the needs of society. The author argues that public policy would be more effective if based on a psychoanalytically-informed understanding of relational needs and unconscious anxieties.