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.
Michael Rustin is Dean of Social Sciences at the University of East London and Visiting Professor at the Tavistock Clinic. He is co-editor of the political journal Soundings