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Racamier, P. (2014). On Narcissistic Perversion. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 95(1):119-132.

(2014). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 95(1):119-132

On Narcissistic Perversion Language Translation

Paul-Claude Racamier


A concept that is still new, relatively unknown, and sometimes unwelcome (because narcissism here appears in its least favourable light), but nevertheless necessary, narcissistic perversion is situated both at a crossroads and at an extreme: the crossroads between the intrapsychic and the interactive, between the individual and the family pathology of narcissism; and the extreme of the constantly explored and re-explored route, examined in increasing detail, between psychosis and perversion.

(Among Freud's entire oeuvre, it is worth recalling his contributions on fetishism, dating from 1927 and 1938. In a nutshell, fetishism gives way - increasingly - to disavowal and splitting: disavowal of castration and splitting of the ego. These are the mechanisms to which Freud attributes the origins of erotogenic fetishism. Remarkably, it is from this disavowal that he derives the link between fetishistic perversion and psychosis.)

However, a long road must be travelled before this broad outline can be fleshed out in depth and the details added. As we shall see, a particular kind of disavowal operates in the non-erotogenic manifestation of narcissistic perversion, in which the object is treated not as a person or as an amulet, but as a tool. For the same profound reason, the most perfect form of narcissistic perversion is represented completely by action and hardly at all evinced in phantasy - for what use is phantasy when there is no real object?

As a first approximation, narcissistic perversion is characterized for an individual by the predominant need to assert, and the pleasure of asserting, oneself at someone else's expense.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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