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Moglen, H. (2008). Ageing and Transageing: Transgenerational Hauntings of the Self. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 9(4):297-311.

(2008). Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 9(4):297-311

An Exchange on Women, Age, and Desire

Ageing and Transageing: Transgenerational Hauntings of the Self

Helene Moglen, Ph.D.

In this article, I examine the dissonant experience of ageing in the context of two different but related models of the psyche: a vertical model to which repression is central and a horizontal model that emphasizes dissociation. I compare the structure of Freud's melancholic self, as Abraham and Torok (1994) have revised it, with the postmodern, poststructuralist, and post-Freudian self, which is characterized by dissociation and emphasized by relational psychoanalytic theorists. I argue that dissociation is the more capacious model for the consideration of the experience of ageing because it can serve an incorporative or an introjective function. In its defensive, incorporative role, it maintains ghostly specters of youth as consuming objects of loss and desire. In its creative introjective role, dissociation initiates a dynamic and creative process in which multiple self-states of past and present are available for recognition and enactment. In this latter form of the dissociative state, the melancholic longings of ageing are transformed into a productive process, which I call transageing. In the final section of the article, I compare the complexities and contradictions of transageing with those of other projects of category crossing, specifically to those that pertain to sex and gender.

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