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Stolorow, R.D. (2002). From Drive to Affectivity: Contextualizing Psychological Life. Psychoanal. Inq., 22(5):678-685.

(2002). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 22(5):678-685

From Drive to Affectivity: Contextualizing Psychological Life

Robert D. Stolorow, Ph.D.

It is the thesis of this article that the shift in psychoanalytic thinking from the primacy of drive to the primacy of affectivity moves psychoanalysis toward a phenomenological contextualism and a central focus on dynamic intersubjective systems. Unlike drives, which originate deep within the interior of a Cartesian isolated mind, affect—that is, subjective emotional experience—is something that from birth onward is regulated, or misregulated, within ongoing relational systems. Therefore, locating affect at the center automatically entails a radical contextualization of virtually all aspects of human psychological life.

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