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Tip: To see Abram’s analysis of Winnicott’s theories…

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In-depth analysis of Winnicott’s psychoanalytic theorization was conducted by Jan Abrams in her work The Language of Winnicott. You can access it directly by clicking here.

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Bohm, L.C. (2008). The Necessity of Gender: A review of Psychoanalytic Reflections on a Gender-Free Case: Into the Void, edited by Ellen L. K. Toronto, Gemma Ainslie, Molly Donovan, Maurine Kelly, Christine C. Kieffer, and Nancy McWilliams. New York: Routledge, 2005, 313 pp... Contemp. Psychoanal., 44(2):301-309.

(2008). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 44(2):301-309

Book Reviews

The Necessity of Gender: A review of Psychoanalytic Reflections on a Gender-Free Case: Into the Void, edited by Ellen L. K. Toronto, Gemma Ainslie, Molly Donovan, Maurine Kelly, Christine C. Kieffer, and Nancy McWilliams. New York: Routledge, 2005, 313 pp..

Review by:
Lori C. Bohm, Ph.D.

PSYCHOANALYTIC REFLECTIONS on a Gender-Free Case-. Into the Void is a fascinating project, an apt way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the founding of Section III, Women, Gender and Psychoanalysis, of the Division of Psychoanalysis (39) of the American Psychological Association. Beginning with a case presentation in which all gender-identifying data have been removed, the book then presents papers covering a range of themes that have interested feminist psychoanalysts and other students of what the lead editor, Ellen L. K. Toronto, calls “the gender puzzle.” Commentaries by distinguished members of Section III provide a context for these contributions in the larger field of psychoanalytic gender studies and explain their meaning in relation to the gender-free case.

A perusal of the book's chapters and their authors reminds us that the unraveling of the complex issues surrounding our contemporary perspectives on gender has been a task taken up primarily by women and, to a lesser extent, by clinicians concerned with people of minority sexual preferences. The one article by a man describes work with a gay male patient. This is more than a function of Section Ill's mission to study “women, gender and psychoanalysis” (Division 39 does not have a section that studies “men, gender, and psychoanalysis”). Women are the ones who have suffered from the biases of the “patriarchal vantage point” of the white middle class heterosexual “male-dominated world” (p. 23) and have thus most vigorously engaged the task of questioning received “knowledge” about gender.

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