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Gentile, J. (2010). Weeds on the Ruins: Agency, Compromise Formation, and the Quest for Intersubjective Truth. Psychoanal. Dial., 20(1):88-109.

(2010). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 20(1):88-109

Weeds on the Ruins: Agency, Compromise Formation, and the Quest for Intersubjective Truth

Jill Gentile, Ph.D.

Using Kundera's metaphor of “weeds on the ruins” to examine the impact of organized destruction of memory on the survival of a people, this paper explores the role of symptoms in negotiating a relational “compromise formation” by tracing their evolution as signifiers of previously dissociated intersubjective knowledge. It suggests that recent theorizing on the mutual constitution of agency and intersubjectivity creates the possibility of resurrecting the dramatic tension that characterized dual drive theory by relocating that tension between the desire to know (oneself, the Other) and the destruction of that desire. To do so, the paper contemplates an internally consistent lens for reconciling the terrain of deficit and dissociation with that of conflict by offering a process-oriented view of agency as “drive” that is rooted between subjective and material contexts. Finally, the paper explores the quest for intersubjective truth as offering a means of living beyond the ubiquity of compromise formation.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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