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Gentile, J. (2007). Wrestling With Matter: Origins of Intersubjectivity. Psychoanal Q., 76(2):547-582.

(2007). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 76(2):547-582

Wrestling With Matter: Origins of Intersubjectivity

Jill Gentile

Recent theories of intersubjectivity attach primacy to the creation of meaning between subjects, obscuring the role of the material world to which both Freud and Winnicott attached significance. Yet, as this article argues, intersubjectivity itself is predicated upon a transitional space between subjective creation and material life. After considering Winnicott's conceptions of psychesoma and transitionality, the author examines the developmental literature for precursors in the encounter with matter that set the stage for the emergence both of symbolic life and of an embodied “transitional subject” to come into being. Clinical illustrations are provided.

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