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Stern, D.B. (2015). Unrepresented States and the Construction of Meaning: Clinical and Theoretical Contributions by Howard B. Levine, Gail S. Reed, and Dominique Scarfone Karnac, London, 2013, IPA Psychoanalytic Ideas and Applications Series; 287 pp; £24.99. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 96(2):493-498.
(2015). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 96(2):493-498
Book and Journal Reviews
Unrepresented States and the Construction of Meaning: Clinical and Theoretical Contributions by Howard B. Levine, Gail S. Reed, and Dominique Scarfone Karnac, London, 2013, IPA Psychoanalytic Ideas and Applications Series; 287 pp; £24.99
Review by: Donnel B. Stern
This timely and significant collection of articles on unrepresented states will be read with profit and pleasure by analysts all over the world, but its impact will perhaps be greatest in North America, where its message is still relatively new. The collection was largely inspired by certain aspects of the work of André Green, to whom the book is dedicated, and other European, especially French, analysts. In their lucid and illuminating introduction, the editors, via the thinking of Green, find the origin of their views of unrepresented states in an interpretation of Freud's thinking. When Freud created the structural theory, Green suggests, he brought drive, previously located outside the psyche, into the mind, conceptualizing two “unconsciousnesses”: the unconscious part of the ego, which contains repressed representations: and the id, in which drive exists as pure force, unconnected to representations. According to Green, in taking this course Freud was opening the possibility that the mind was not only a container of “presences” or representations, but also of influences (the pure force of drive) that are better described as absences or voids. The basic problem of mind became, for Green, the means by which drive becomes connected with representations, thereby becoming usable in the activities of thought (which was always considered to be integrated with, and imbued with, affect).
In this frame of reference, an important aspect of psychopathology, especially more severe types, becomes the incapacity to create representations and link them with drive, leaving the mind to function somehow with voids and absences.
[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.]