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Marucco, N.C. (1997). The Oedipus Complex, Castration And The Fetish: A Revision Of The Psychoanalytic Theory Of Sexuality. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 78:351-355.

(1997). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 78:351-355

The Oedipus Complex, Castration And The Fetish: A Revision Of The Psychoanalytic Theory Of Sexuality

Norberto Carlos Marucco

The following remarks should be regarded as no more than a preface to my revision of the theory of sexuality. This is because the ideas put forward in this contribution cannot be developed in the depth they deserve owing to the stipulation of brevity for pre-published Congress papers. My ‘starting point’ will be what Pontalis called ‘the introduction of fetishism’ (1977, p. 85) into Freudian theory—that is, the way in which the Oedipus complex is resolved, when the subject is confronted with the castration complex, by the constitution of the fetish, giving rise to a specific structuring of the psychic apparatus (splitting of the ego), and its consequence, namely, a special mode of relationship between man, his reality and his sexuality. Moreover, since sexuality is transferential, my ‘point of arrival’ will place this revision in the context of the theory of analytic treatment, and will include some considerations on the transference.

Introduction: today's analysand

Revision of the psychoanalytic theory of sexuality proves necessary whenever our clinical practice confronts us with so-called present-day pathologies. Can we claim today, as analysts could legitimately assert in Freud's lifetime, that problems of sexuality are the underlying unconscious mechanism in all those who consult us? Perhaps not, but the provisional nature of this answer suggests that today's sexuality is expressed differently from that of a century ago. These ‘present-day pathologies’ require us to deal with: (1) known symptomatic expressions of repressed sexuality; (2) new expressions of sexuality that we must recognise (new vicissitudes of the drive?); and (3) symptomatic expressions of traumas attributed to an object that has erased the presence of the sexual drive—that is, manifestations of the death drive arising when the sexual drive is overwhelmed by an object that succeeds in affirming its primacy.

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