A System of Scars:
Adorno and Klein on Ego Integration
Drawing on material from chapter two of her recently published book, Critique on the Couch, Professor Allen’s talk explores connections between psychoanalysis and critical theory by staging a dialogue between Melanie Klein and Theodor Adorno. The main contention will be that Klein’s account of ego integration shows a possible way out of the paradox of the ego that emerges sharply in Adorno’s work. For Klein, ego integration is a function not of internalized domination but rather of the ego’s enrichment and expansion through the incorporation of unconscious content. Thus, Klein’s account of ego integration moves beyond Adorno’s paradox of the ego while, at the same time, productively extending some of his underdeveloped remarks about non-reified cognition.