The concept of anxiety has been haunting psychoanalytic theory from its earliest days. The omnipresence of “the mother of all affects” in various models of the mind could thus be regarded as the Shibboleth of each model’s basic assumptions and epistemological foundations. It further seems that although anxiety does not lend itself easily to explicit definitions, an integration of the clinical and cultural dimensions of this concept is long overdue. This chapter probes several focal points on the interface between Pre-Freudian, Freudian and Post-Freudian theories of anxiety. It argues that amongst human emotions anxiety is occupying a unique position; not only in the development of the individual but also in modern and post-modern cultural and political discourse.
published in Shihot-Israel Journal of Psychotherapy