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Hanly, C.M. (1996). Reflections On Feminine And Masculine Authority: A Developmental Perspective.. Psychoanal Q., 65:84-101.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 65:84-101

Reflections On Feminine And Masculine Authority: A Developmental Perspective.

Charles M. T. Hanly, Ph.D.

Is there a difference between feminine and masculine authority? If so, does affiliation to authority figures in psychoanalysis make a difference according to the gender of the authority? Is there a difference in the thinking of Kleinian analysts as compared with Freudian analysts that in some way underlies the theoretical and technical differences and arises out of the relation each has to the authoritative figure who founded the school of thought? Could a male analyst have established Kleinian thought? Could a female analyst have established Freudian thought? Is a choice of authority based on gender involved in the choice by an analyst to be a Kleinian or a Freudian?

Immediately, other questions crowd in. Are not these foolish questions? Is it not obvious that we analysts adopt theoretical ideas according to the evidence for them that emerges from our personal analysis, our studies, and our clinical observations in our analyses of others? What does the fact that Klein was a woman and Freud a man have to do with finding the theories of one more plausible than the theories of the other? I shall argue later that these are foolish question in certain respects. But fools and their foolish questions may be worth thinking about. Shakespeare made the fool the bearer of truths denied by others, as, for example, in King Lear. So I shall dare to play the fool, although without any claim to the wisdom of Shakespeare's fools.

If the authority of the father is based upon law, the authority of the mother is based upon desire. This formulation suggests a gender difference in the way in which we experience the authoritative object.

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