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Browning, M.M. (2017). Feeling One's Way in the World: Making a Life. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 98(4):1075-1095.

(2017). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 98(4):1075-1095

Feeling One's Way in the World: Making a Life

Margaret M. Browning

(Accepted for publication 6 June 2016)

This paper argues for the psychoanalytic relevance of the works of James Gibson and Susanne Langer in explicating the early development of the human child and makes use of this combined formulation of development to think about psychoanalytic theory and practice. From the insights of James Gibson's ecological psychology we can appreciate the embodiment and embeddedness of the child's growing mind within both her physical and social environments. Making use of Susanne Langer's concept of feeling to redefine ecological psychology's perceptual counterpart to action allows us to understand the child's seamless transition into active participation in her culture, as she learns to project her animalian capacity to feel into intersubjectively defined forms of behavior and experience with others. The paper presents a lengthy exposition of Gibson's ecological psychology, before explaining Langer's thinking and launching into the combined insights of these scholars to explicate the nature of the child's mind as she feels her way in the world and makes a life for herself within it. This is the life she will be able to remake in the embeddedness of a psychoanalytic therapeutic relationship where she can learn to feel her way in the world in a new light.

[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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