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Rozmarin, E. (2009). I Am Yourself: Subjectivity and the Collective. Psychoanal. Dial., 19(5):604-616.

(2009). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 19(5):604-616

I Am Yourself: Subjectivity and the Collective

Eyal Rozmarin, Ph.D.

This paper suggests that social and historical forces play an unconscious yet decisive role in our lives. Telling the story of a conversation between Israeli parents about the prospect of their children becoming soldiers, and of an analytic relationship between two Israelis, the paper aims to bring to light a hidden balance of power between family bonds and collective attachments. The paper uses ideas developed by Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, and Felix Guattari in the field of critical theory to examine the ways in which families function as social agents, that is, as socializing institutions. It suggests that, as a result, in some situations, families may face a conflict of identifications, a dilemma between responsibility to kin and responsibility to the collective. If the dilemma commonly persists unheeded, it becomes painfully evident in extreme situations. Such is the case when parents are asked to allow their children to become soldiers, or when individuals strive to care for themselves against a binding ethics of communal and intergenerational responsibility. The paper examines the effect of the collective trauma underlying the dominant discourse of the Israeli society, and the hypercollectivity of the Israeli Kibbutz, in generating powerful unconscious conflicts that haunt subjective and family life. The paper argues that collective affiliations and consequently, collective politics are inseparable from individual psychology and interpersonal relations. It suggests that, for this reason, political awareness and political exchange can play a crucial, liberating role in the therapeutic relationship, and life in general.

[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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