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Mills, J. (1998). Multiplicity, Essentialism, and the Dialectical Nature of the Soul: A Review of Rewriting the Soul: Multiple Personality and the Sciences of Memory by Ian Hacking. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995. 336 pp.. Contemp. Psychoanal., 34(1):157-169.

(1998). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 34(1):157-169

Multiplicity, Essentialism, and the Dialectical Nature of the Soul: A Review of Rewriting the Soul: Multiple Personality and the Sciences of Memory by Ian Hacking. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995. 336 pp.

Jon Mills, Psy.D

University professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto, Ian Hacking is a leading thinker in postmodern social constructivism. In Rewriting the Soul, Hacking explores the mental topography of memory and its enigmatic role in the multiple personality movement. The book is a first-rate piece of scholarship; it is comprehensively researched, philosophically insightful, and accessible both to those intimately acquainted with the clinical world of dissociative disorders and to the educated layperson. Hacking provides a careful historical exegesis of the rise of modern psychiatry, of the phenomenology of trauma, hysteria, schizophrenia, and child abuse, and of the politics of mental health within the current context of the multiple personality crusade. His intriguing and spacious survey of the history of dissociative profiles covers the early days of French psychiatry, the ascent of psychoanalysis, and contemporary sociopolitical concerns. Explicit case material is provided with thoughtful precision. Hacking's fastidious chronology of the myriad faces of dissociation contextualizes multiplicity as one among scores of dissociative manifestations. His scrutiny of dissociative clinical case histories depicts the complications of multiplicity, thereby highlighting conceptual problems in efforts to isolate a core pathology that forms the essential organization of the multiple. Hacking also addresses different treatment approaches to illuminate variegated aspects of diversified clinical scenarios, including the patient-therapist relationship.

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