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Lament, C. (2013). Three Contextual Frameworks for Siblingships: Nonlinear Thinking, Disposition, and Phallocentrism. Psychoanal. St. Child, 67:84-99.

(2013). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 67:84-99

Three Contextual Frameworks for Siblingships: Nonlinear Thinking, Disposition, and Phallocentrism

Claudia Lament, Ph.D.

This discussion of Juliet Mitchell's paper “Siblings: Thinking Theory” places her work within the context of three frameworks: nonlinear thinking, disposition, and phallocentrism. The nonlinear dimension of the developmental process demonstrates how the sibling experience is not static, but rather is subject to a natural transmogrification toward new adaptive forms and meanings that occur over the sequential progress of organizational growth. Secondly, dispositional variables tend to be overlooked in their role in how brothers and sisters engage one another, titrate closeness and separateness, and creatively live out their love, admiration, hate, envy, and rivalry with each other. Sensitivities in dispositional leanings, such as special empathic qualities, may even serve to mitigate sibling turbulence. Lastly, the phallocentricity in Western societies privileges an implicitly male perspective that envisions sibling relationships in terms of threatening competitors, as the common linguistic phrase sibling rivalry suggests. This inflection in culture disregards more-expanding qualities

in object relationships and aim-giving strategies that are exchanged in sibling play.

These variables are not the sole contributors to the sibling experience, but a sampling of influences both from within and outside the child that affect that experience.

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