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Guralnik, O. (2010). Reading Classical Theory in the 21st Century: A Discussion of Leon Hoffman's “The Impact of Opposite-Sex Younger Siblings: A Hypothesis Concerning Gender Differences”. J. Infant Child Adolesc. Psychother., 9(2-3):86-93.

(2010). Journal of Infant, Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy, 9(2-3):86-93

Reading Classical Theory in the 21st Century: A Discussion of Leon Hoffman's “The Impact of Opposite-Sex Younger Siblings: A Hypothesis Concerning Gender Differences”

Orna Guralnik, Psy.D.

This discussion takes up Leon Hoffman's (this issue) classical psychoanalytic inclination to interpret gender difference, such as anatomical distinction, as an expression of hierarchies, and as bound with pain. Hoffman finds Colonna and Newman's (1983) assertion that “a girl's penis envy and a boy's castration anxiety are intensified by the birth of an opposite-sexed sibling during the phallic phase” to be “intuitively obvious” (this issue, p. 98). These interpretations are reworked from the Foucauldian position that the body is the scene of cultural inscription. The clinical material is re-read to suggest that such normative formulations bar access to the child-patients' struggles with gender binaries and melancholy, and foreclose possible forms of attachment.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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