Octave Mannoni worked in France, Madagascar, and Africa throughout the twentieth century to develop Lacanian psychoanalytic methods in the feld of ethnology. He is best known for his research on the psychic affects of colonization: domination of a mass by a minority, economic exploitation, paternalism, and racialism. Positioning his perspectives within the Freudian framework, Mannoni's book Freud: The Theory of the Unconscious is a well-crafted and concise introduction to the Austrian neurologist's life, work, and theories. The major part of this book consists of an intellectual biography of Freud that traces the various crucial Freudian concepts key to understanding his work. Along with an introduction, the book also provides a critical account of the various shortcomings in Freud's work.
Octave Mannoni was a leading thinker of France's psychoanalytic tradition surrounding Jacques Lacan. In France he undertook analysis with Lacan and became initiated into clinical practice alongside his wife Maud Mannoni.