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Greenberg, J. (2012). Editor's Introduction. Psychoanal Q., 81(3):527-530.

(2012). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 81(3):527-530

Vínculo: A Latin American Psychoanalytic Concept

Editor's Introduction

Jay Greenberg

The theme of the 2010 meeting of the Federación Psicoanalitica de America Latina (FEPAL) held in Bogotá, Colombia, was “Transferencia, Vínculo, y Alteridad.” Two of the concepts that make up this theme—transference and otherness—are of course familiar to all psychoanalysts, but the third, vínculo, is virtually unknown outside Latin America. This despite its being fundamental in that community, enough so that it was incorporated into the title of a continent-wide conference.

In light of the importance of the concept of vínculo in Latin American psychoanalysis, especially in the rich tradition of the Río de la Plata region, it is important that it be introduced to analysts working within other theoretical and cultural traditions. Doing so will not only bring the work of an unusually creative psychoanalytic community to the attention of a wider readership, but will also illuminate conversations and debates that are occurring throughout the world of contemporary psychoanalysis.

The literal meaning of vínculo is “link” or “bond.” But as with many other psychoanalytic terms, its use within the structure of the total theory is complex, ambiguous, and much debated; the similarity to other psychoanalytic concepts (such as Bion's links) is narrow and misleading. A word about the other terms in the FEPAL theme will help to contextualize the idea of vínculo and to introduce the papers that will discuss it.

Transference, itself confused and confusing in its multiple usages, seems to be used in a fairly traditional sense in the FEPAL theme. As Isidoro Berenstein puts it in his contribution to this issue, transference “is based on a creation/updating/re-creation of norms or patterns. These patterns include some degree of repetition of a childhood state, fixation, or arrest in emotional states typical of infantile development” (p. 575). In some respects, otherness, although in common usage, is less congenial to Anglophone psychoanalysts.

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