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Capponi, R. Gediman, H.K. (2000). Affect and Power. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 81(4):799-802.

(2000). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 81(4):799-802

Affect and Power

Ricardo Capponi and Helen K. Gediman

The Moderator, Ricardo Capponi, opened the panel by calling on the first panellist, Leo Rangell, who presented his paper, ‘Affect and power’. Keeping close to the panel topic, Rangell stated his view that the organisers of this panel had made a creative attempt to suggest a link between the terms ‘affect’ and ‘power’, which are signals, in his opinion, of the real and current presence of affect and power. That is, the words, themselves, alert and arouse affect, and this very arousal exerts power over the listeners. He then located the theme of his discussion within an ego-psychological theoretical scheme. Affect and power are multidetermined psychic events, and as key words stand at the apex of a pyramidal structure of multiple meanings that fit together empirically and kaleidoscopically in a number of ways that should be the challenge for this panel to examine.

Affects attract and exert power and can be understood both macroscopically, as in larger social and historical contexts, and microscopically, as in clinical psychoanalytic case studies and in film. In dealing with both the power of affects and with the affects of power in a particular clinical situation, Rangell traced the power that a complex network of affects had exerted in a patient' life, sometimes accounting for progressions and sometimes for self-imposed restrictions. The power of affects can be exercised in multiple directions: that is, their force can be brought about by the force and power of an acute, colossal, explosive event, or by chronic and cumulative stress; they may be in conflict with each other, or balance each other out; they can be sequential, overlapping, or can negate each other.

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