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Hopper, E. (2008). On: Racial Fantasies and the Primal Scene of Miscegenation. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 89(6):1220-1222.

(2008). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 89(6):1220-1222

On: Racial Fantasies and the Primal Scene of Miscegenation

Earl Hopper

Dear Editors,

I very much appreciate the argument advanced by Luz Calvo (2008) to the effect that the classical theory and concept of the so-called ‘primal scene’ do not consider its socio-cultural aetiology, both generally and in any particular case. This is especially evident in what is called the ‘primal scene of miscegenation’ and the fantasy that ‘a black man is being beaten’, the latter being a possible element in or aspect of the former. However, this cannot really be a matter of a ‘primal phantasy’, in the sense that the concept was introduced ever so briefly by Freud (1914) in his report of the analysis of the Wolf Man, but developed by Klein, Bion, Isaacs, Jones and others in this tradition. Hence the distinction between ‘phantasy’ and ‘fantasy’, introduced into the literature by a former Editor of this Journal. After all, can a fantasy of miscegenation and a fantasy that a black man is being beaten really be innate, that is, be a phantasy, given variations in social stratification, ethnic group structures and gender roles, not to mention the variations in the prevalence, incidence, and intensity of such fantasies?

Surely the meanings of such fantasies are rooted in the socio-cultural-political-linguistic systems of particular societies, notwithstanding the fact that the organization of these fantasies cannot be separated from primal scene phenomena, whether or not such phenomena are innate? Surely it is necessary to posit the existence of a ‘society ego’, which is every bit as ‘primary’ as the ‘body-ego’ of classical psychoanalysis, and to argue that the development of these two parallel and complex internal structures are highly intertwined from the ‘very beginning’, both as instruments of adaptation and of agency? The constraints of a society-ego are not reducible to those of a body-ego.

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