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Fenichel, O. (1943). Identification and Substitution: Raymond de Saussure. Int. J. Psa., XX, 1939, pp. 465–470.. Psychoanal Q., 12:146.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Identification and Substitution: Raymond de Saussure. Int. J. Psa., XX, 1939, pp. 465–470.

(1943). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 12:146

Identification and Substitution: Raymond de Saussure. Int. J. Psa., XX, 1939, pp. 465–470.

Otto Fenichel

The term 'identification', in psychoanalytic theory, includes several different mechanisms. In Some Neurotic Mechanisms in Jealousy, Paranoia and Homosexuality, Freud described a certain type of object choice based on identification, which is the result of overcompensation for a frustrated hatred against an older brother. For this overcompensatory type of identification1 de Saussure proposes the designation 'substitution'. 'While identification is based first and foremost on a relation of confidence, the basis of substitution is distrust between the subject and the object he is seeking to identify himself with… When a child is learning some new gestures and comes up against the irony or contempt of his parents, far from admitting his defeat, he will, in his autistic thoughts, place himself above them; but, from a sense of guilt or from a certain sense of reality he will at the same time place himself below them. Instead of identification there will be at the same time substitution and subordination. Such a situation will fixate a narcissistic reaction and will at the same time be the basis of the vicious circle of inferiority feelings.' The effect on the superego is to make this type lack genuineness. He acts for prestige's sake and not for the sake of the thing. The mechanisms by which the different identifications are carried out are not discussed. The fact that those mechanisms consist in the case of 'substitution' as well as in other indentifications of introjections, may be the reason why both are called identification.

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Article Citation

Fenichel, O. (1943). Identification and Substitution. Psychoanal. Q., 12:146

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