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Stoller, R.J. (1991). Hooray For Love. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 39S(Supplement):413-435.

(1991). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 39S(Supplement):413-435

Hooray For Love

Robert J. Stoller, M.D.

"Love" is a word that supposedly links an affect homogeneous enough from episode to episode or from person to person or from culture to culture to be recognized by anyone as being, clearly, love. The cautious psychoanalyst, however, knows—not the least from being unable to define love—that there really is little homogeneity. Nonetheless, analytic investigators are now facing this problem. In order to examine an aspect of the concept "love," a fragment from the report of a woman of our culture in a painful love affair is placed next to a fragment from a Sambia (New Guinea) woman. As we would expect, untender, unempathic, unpleasant, and dangerous qualities—in the form of memories and scripts—immediately appear amid the tender emotions. The roots of these unloving affects can be found in the forces that, transcending cultures, create gender identity in males and females, and give us hints as to why love is often so unloving.

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