Ruthless Winnicott is an extended exploration of the role of ruthlessness in psychic development. That survival is of no use unless it is preceded by a ruthless attack is one of D. W. Winnicott's most resonant paradoxes. The book links this with the search for subjective freedom for those traumatized by colonialism, and in doing so draws on the work of Algerian psychiatrist and revolutionary psychoanalytic thinker Frantz Fanon.
Sally Swartz examines essential pieces of Winnicott's work on ruthlessness as central to the emergence of concern for the Other. She illustrates, with clinical examples, ways in which the ruthless use of the psychoanalytic psychotherapeutic space allows the patient either to enter fully into a process that allows growth, or to defend ruthlessly against the anxieties provoked by psychic change. Ruthless Winnicott also maps decolonial challenges to psychoanalytic theory, and the role of ruthlessness in protest movements demanding radical subjective change. Swartz's exploration of ruthlessness as both zest and defense in individual development and in protest movements illuminates processes of psychological collision and change. It traces links between individual trauma and collective turbulence, and maps ways in which ruthlessness is essential to subjective change.
Ruthless Winnicott will be of great interest to psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists, as well as scholars of colonialism, decolonization and post-colonialism.