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Katz, M. (2002). Demarcating the Internal from the External: Where to Draw the Line and For Whom. Psychoanal. Contemp. Thought, 25(1):85-111.

(2002). Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought, 25(1):85-111

Demarcating the Internal from the External: Where to Draw the Line and For Whom

Montana Katz, Ph.D.

The psychoanalytic distinction between the internal and the external is examined. Implicit underlying assumptions of the distinction are discussed and evaluated. A model is suggested for characterizing the internal. The conception of human nature employed in the model includes classical psychoanalytic elements such as a form of innate drives, as well as the environmental influence on the construction of the internal. Certain aspects of the model, those fundamental to any conception of human nature, are addressed, such as locating the beginning of life for the purposes of model construction, identifying the fetal period as crucial to human development, the role of introjection in the construction of the self, as well as the relative role of the intrapsychic and the relational. The model is applied to the demarcation between the internal and the external. In so doing,

the extent to which sex-linked difference is pertinent to drawing the line between the internal and the external is evaluated. A result of the model is that the construction of the internal may be significantly different for female and male. Thus, the concept of the internal, and more generally, human nature, may need to be bifurcated according to sex.

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