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Stein, R. (2001). Affect in Psychoanalytic Theory: Discussion of André Green's ‘on Discriminating and not Discriminating Between Affect and Representation’. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 82(5):877-900.
    

(2001). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 82(5):877-900

Affect in Psychoanalytic Theory: Discussion of André Green's ‘on Discriminating and not Discriminating Between Affect and Representation’

Ruth Stein

André Green's 1999 programmatic essay on affect and representation, an attempt to extend Freud's model of the neuroses (where affect and representation have different vicissitudes) to non-neurotic cases is submitted to critical reading. Green wishes to restore the importance of representation; to use the second topographical theory, where id, psychical impulse and object-cathexis replace the unconscious and the ideational representation in order to conceptualise borderline disturbance, and to show how ultimately the ‘non-discrimination’ affect-representation obtains in non-neurotic cases as well. The author, interested in the question posed in Green's essay as to what we have to sell our borderline patients, addresses the various reasons why this project fails. Among the problematic points are the paradox of Green's model of unconscious affect, that does not allow the analyst to generate meaning with borderline patients, the view of ‘representation’ as replacing presence and perception of the object that does not allow the analyst to be a non-absent object, and the inabilty to conceptualise affect-representatives and to work out the definition of affect as ‘the anticipation of a meeting with the other's body’ which does not allow the analyst to function as an ‘anticipatory object’ or ‘an object of affect’.

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