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Tip: To review the bibliography…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

It is always useful to review an article’s bibliography and references to get a deeper understanding of the psychoanalytic concepts and theoretical framework in it.

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Bacelle, L. (1988). Samuels, A. (London). ‘Sesso, genere e psiche: un punto di vista postjunghiano’ (Sex, gender and psyche: a post-Jungian point of view), in Presenza ed eredità culturale di C. G. Jung (Proceedings of the VIth Congress if C.I.P.A. (1986), Milano, Raeffaello Cortina Editore, 1987).. J. Anal. Psychol., 33(3):308.

(1988). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 33(3):308

Samuels, A. (London). ‘Sesso, genere e psiche: un punto di vista postjunghiano’ (Sex, gender and psyche: a post-Jungian point of view), in Presenza ed eredità culturale di C. G. Jung (Proceedings of the VIth Congress if C.I.P.A. (1986), Milano, Raeffaello Cortina Editore, 1987).

Review by:
Lorenzo Bacelle

Andrew Samuels presented this most interesting paper at the Sixth Congress of the Italian Centre of Analytical Psychology. In his work with psychotherapy students, he has noticed the most passionate interest developing around Jung's views on gender and sex, masculinity and femininity. But the expectation of some new understanding has usually been followed by frustration and disappointment. Was Jung a precursor of feminism, as some of his writing suggests, or an irremediable chauvinist?

Jung's approach to gender and sex was inevitably influenced by the prejudices of Swiss society of the Edwardian era, when a woman was expected to be a mother rather than a worker, to wear a skirt rather than trousers, to feel rather than to think. Jung never made the distinction between sex and gender as non-coincidable concepts.

Samuels reminds us that sex—‘male’, ‘female’—is determined by criteria deriving from anatomy and biology, whereas gender—‘masculine’, ‘feminine’—is a category related to culture and psychology and is therefore relative and modifiable.

Jung uses the terms ‘male’ and ‘female’ to describe psychological aspects within an individual or within a culture. But he sometimes departs from this internal and psychological perspective and makes outrageous generalisations about sexual behaviour and the sexual roles of men and women.

Anima and animus are the contrasexual elements within the psyche of a person and are experienced as something ‘other’, potential, not yet realised.

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