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Kristeva, J. (2014). Reliance, or Maternal Eroticism. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 62(1):69-85.

(2014). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 62(1):69-85

Reliance, or Maternal Eroticism

Julia Kristeva

I In Search of Reliance

To live and to think the maternal as erotic, wouldn't that be as provocative as to speak of infantile sexuality? One might think so, in light of all the social crises that conceive of the maternal as just the fulfillment of all vital needs, while certain superficial interpretations of contemporary psychoanalysis suggest—quite wrongly—that psychoanalysis assigns sexuality exclusively to the lover and the unbearable destiny of object relations to the maternal.

The principal reason for this difficulty in properly locating the maternal, which we will analyze here, is first of all the very concept of eroticism. This concept is rooted in the invention of the unconscious, before it takes on its definitive form in eros and thanatos, the binding and unbinding [liaison/déliaison] pair. Beginning in 1911, with “Formulations on the Two Principles of Mental Functioning,” Freud calls it the “psychic revolution” of materiality (p. 223). In line with Jean-Michel Hirt (1998), I see in this Freudian development, contemporaneous with his other texts on narcissism and psychosis, a gradual differentiation between materiality and “psychization,” one that Lou Andreas-Salomé (1913a) would passionately reinterpret.

1 [Transl.] Throughout, l'amante has been translated as “lover,” but it refers exclusively to the female lover.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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