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Zinkin, L. (2008). Your Self: Did You Find it or did You Make It?. J. Anal. Psychol., 53(3):389-406.

(2008). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 53(3):389-406

Your Self: Did You Find it or did You Make It?

Louis Zinkin

In this paper, written indraft formin1991 and now posthumously published, the late Louis Zinkin presents a constructivist view of the self. He considers some of the paradoxes in Jungian definitions of the self and compares these to Winnicott's ‘forbidden question’ regarding the transitional object: ‘Did you find itor did you make it?’.Heargues that, for the purposes of a coherent scientific theory, these apparent paradoxes need to be formulated in an internally consistent way. Bemused by the many contradictions in Jung's thinking, he proposes making a fresh start by thinking in terms of people in social interaction with each other rather than as solitary subjects, as Jung did. This leads him to the view that the self comes into existence through continuing interaction with other people. Drawing on the work of Harré and Vygotsky, he suggests that the public self is prior to the private self and that one becomes real through recognition by other people in and through language and culture. The paper was discussed at a meeting held at the Society of Analytical Psychology in November 1991 and an edited version of the taped discussion follows.

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