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Meyer, J.K. (1996). Sexualities And Homosexualities. By Jaime P. Stubrin. Translated by Eduardo Reneboldi. Foreword by Joyce McDougall. London: Karnac Books, 1994. 157 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 65:830-832.
(1996). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 65:830-832
Sexualities And Homosexualities. By Jaime P. Stubrin. Translated by Eduardo Reneboldi. Foreword by Joyce McDougall. London: Karnac Books, 1994. 157 pp.
Review by: Jon K. Meyer
Stubrin, an Argentinean psychoanalyst, has written a brief book (142 pages of text) divided into two main sections, “Neosexualities” and “Homosexualities.” Brief though it is, the work contains vivid and interesting clinical vignettes and literary excerpts. Among the latter, there is a particularly fine discussion of the novel, Crash (pp. 47, ff.). The clinical and literary material is the strength of the book.
In terms of problems, there are a few involving idiomatic usage in the translation from the Spanish: for example, the use of “princeps” where “principal” is meant (p. 26). There is also some stylistic awkwardness manifested in an occasional sentence and in the form of staccato paragraphs.
An even less auspicious characteristic is presaged in Joyce McDougall's observation that Stubrin asks two questions: whether everything has been said about sex and sexual deviations and whether psychoanalysts claim to know everything. It sounds like a straw man, and it is, since Stubrin actually “hopes to arouse doubts and … question established and stereotypic psychoanalytic concepts …” (p. xi). McDougall comments that “Stubrin's work exemplifies the dictum that it is more important to formulate questions than to produce answers” (p. xi), but this perhaps admirable sentiment serves here as a launching pad for attacks on another straw man, judgmental attitudes in psychoanalysis. While it is possible that psychoanalysts are rigid, conforming, and unduly self-satisfied, it can at least be argued that psychoanalysts know a great deal, albeit knowledge requiring reformulation and synthesis. In other words, debunking stereotyped, outdated attitudes may not be as high a calling as providing new answers.
While I believe Stubrin strives to provide new syntheses, there is an unfortunate tendency to establish catechisms. For example, he asserts, “We should ask ourselves … how homosexuals can maintain their psychic health in spite of the persecution, discrimination, and abuse that they suffer” (pp. 138-139).
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