This article deals with the relationship between the creator of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, and the Latvian-born Chilean professor of physiology – and endocrinologist and anthropologist – Alejandro (or Alexander) Lipschütz. Up till now, the historiography of psychoanalysis in Chile has ignored the existence of this relationship, that is to say, the fact that there exists an interesting exchange of correspondence as well as references to Lipschütz in some important works published by Freud and in Freud’s correspondence with the Hungarian psychoanalyst Sándor Ferenczi. There are also references to works on psychoanalysis carried out by Lipschütz in Chile. The Freud–Lipschütz relationship allows us to examine two interesting topics in contemporary historiographical approaches to psychoanalysis. First, it permits us to reflect on the connections that Freud and Ferenczi sought to establish between psychoanalysis and biology (endocrinology in particular) as a strategy to address criticism of the scientific foundations of psychoanalysis and, therefore, to help legitimize psychoanalysis in the field of science. Second, the relationship between Freud, working in a culturally influential city such as Vienna, and Lipschütz, working in a ‘peripheral’ country such as Chile, paves the way to reflect on the consequences of a history of psychoanalysis written from the perspective of the ‘margins’. This is a history that focuses not on regions where early industrialization and modernization processes, along with an important academic and scientific tradition, help explain the interest in and reception of psychoanalysis, but on regions where different sets of conditions have to be examined to explain appropriation and dissemination processes.
Silvana Vetö is a Chilean Psychologist, MA in Psychoanalysis and PhD in History. Her research has focused on the history of psychoanalysis. She is currently conducting research on the history of childhood in Chile at the crossroads of justice, medicine and psychology – particularly through the archives of the Juvenile Court of Santiago, between 1929 and 1942. She is a professor at Universidad Andrés Bello in Santiago, Chile, where she teaches the history of psychology and psychoanalysis. She is currently a Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies at University College London.
Marcelo Sánchez is a Chilean historian and PhD in Latin American Studies. He is currently a research associate at the National Museum of Odontology at Universidad de Chile. His topics of research include the history of eugenics, Darwinism and psy knowledges in Latin America.