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Winnicott, D.W. (1967). The Location of Cultural Experience. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 48:368-372.

(1967). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 48:368-372

The Location of Cultural Experience

D. W. Winnicott

On the seashore of endless worlds, children play.—Tagore

In this paper I wish to develop the theme that I stated briefly on the occasion of the Banquet. In my attempt to pay tribute to James Strachey I said:

Freud did not have a place in his topography of the mind for the experience of things cultural. He gave new value to inner psychic reality, and from this came a new value for things that are actual and truly external. Freud used the word "sublimation" to point the way to a place where cultural experience is meaningful, but perhaps he did not get so far as to tell us where in the mind cultural experience is.

Now I want to enlarge this idea and make an attempt at a positive statement. I shall use my own language and invite my colleagues to remind me of ways in which Freud and others have already covered the ground. It is part of my thesis, however, that the psycho-analytic literature does not, in fact, include what I am putting forward.

In the end, it will be found that I have done little more than extend my paper given to the British Society in 1951 on Transitional Objects and Transitional Phenomena (1953). But the extension is needed. Several workers have tried to develop and modify what I wrote in 1951. In my opinion there is room for more research and restatement in this area of mental functioning, and I welcome these developments.

The quotation from Tagore has always intrigued me. In my adolescence I had no idea what it could mean, but it found a place in me, and its imprint has not faded.

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