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Ceccoli, V.C. (2002). The Power of Feelings, by Nancy J. Chodorow, Yale University Press, 1999, 274 ps.. Am. J. Psychoanal., 62(2):207-208.

(2002). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 62(2):207-208

Book Reviews

The Power of Feelings, by Nancy J. Chodorow, Yale University Press, 1999, 274 ps.

Review by:
Velleda C. Ceccoli, Ph.D.

The noted feminist, sociologist, and psychoanalyst Nancy Chodorow introduces The Power of Feelings as a treatise on individual subjectivity and the construction of meaning. Indeed, this latest addition to her scholarly contributions to date focuses on affective experience and its interweaving with introjections and social constructions in the creation of personal meaning. As a sociologist, Chodorow has always focused on culture and social determinism; adding a psychoanalytic lens, she brought us The Reproduction of Mothering (1978), Feminism and Psychoanalytic Theory (1989), and Femininities, Masculinities, Sexualities: Freud and Beyond (1994). In these works (and numerous other essays and papers), Chodorow consistently questioned psychoanalytic resistance to culture and its subtle and not so subtle contributions to psyche. Most specifically, she confronted psychoanalysis in the arena of gender, adding a clear and strong voice to American feminist psychoanalysis. Her work has continued to interweave culture in any description on individual psychology, and most recently—as evidenced in The Power of Feelings—Chodorow weaves key psychoanalytic concepts such as transference, projection, introjection, and the formation of the personal unconscious with the intensity and processing of affective experience. Here, her scholarly lens is turned sharply inward, to the very fabric of emotions and the various ways in which they shape personal meaning. While she argues that meaning is experienced both from within (psychodynamically) and from without (socioculturally), she refines this notion and extends it within a relational context in which specific encounters and psychic moments are responsible for the creation of individual meaning.

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