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Aron, L. (1995). The Internalized Primal Scene. Psychoanal. Dial., 5(2):195-237.
    

(1995). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 5(2):195-237

The Internalized Primal Scene Related Papers

Lewis Aron, Ph.D.

An important critique has been developing that questions the ways in which psychoanalytic theories have conceptualized gender and sexuality. Contemporary (postmodern) feminist theories and the work of gay and lesbian theorists have challenged the traditional psychoanalytic view of gender as formed primarily through fixed, unitary identifications. This paper reviews the classical concept of the primal scene and the Kleinian concept of the combined parent figure and recontextualizes these ideas within contemporary relational theory. The revised metaphor of an internalized primal scene challenges traditional notions of a unitary gender identity and lends support to the postmodern critique of the notion of a core or unified identity. This paper develops the idea that we need both a notion of gender identity and a notion of gender multiplicity; more broadly, we need an emphasis on people both as unified, stable, cohesive subjects and as multiple, fragmented, and different from moment to moment. In line with the postmodern emphasis on deconstructing dichotomies, the paper emphasizes the deconstruction, or rather the psychoanalysis, of such polarized concepts as male-female, masculine—feminine, heterosexual—homosexual, fathermother, genital—pregenital, oedipal—preoedipal, identity—multiplicity, identity—multiplicitly paranoid—schizoiddepressive position, drive theory—relational theory, and even patient—analyst.

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