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Aguayo, J. (2013). Projective Identification: The Fate of a Concept, by Elizabeth Spillius and Edna O'Shaughnessy, London, UK: Routledge, 2012, 407 pp., $37.99.. Psychoanal. Psychol., 30(3):516-522.

(2013). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 30(3):516-522

Projective Identification: The Fate of a Concept, by Elizabeth Spillius and Edna O'Shaughnessy, London, UK: Routledge, 2012, 407 pp., $37.99.

Review by:
Joseph Aguayo, Ph.D.

If there is one concept that serves as a hallmark of the Kleinian psychoanalytic method, Melanie Klein's (1946, 1952) description of projective identification would no doubt occupy pride of place. The editors, Elizabeth Spillius and Edna O'Shaughnessy, are themselves important contributors to the London Kleinian development and in this collection of articles, take up the myriad ways in which projective identification has been conceptualized, used clinically, defined, and redefined. The overall arc of the current project is to measure—starting from the original work done in London after World War II, in which basic definitions were hammered out—the different ways in which the concept has been “received,” redefined, and deployed in various analytic cultures throughout the world.

The editors divide the contributions of some 21 analysts into three parts: Part 1—Klein's paper, “Notes on Some Schizoid Mechanisms,” (the 1952 version) along with Spillius' essay on Klein's published and unpublished notes on the concept; Part 2—British Kleinian developments, which represent key refinements and extensions of projective identification in the work of Wilfred Bion, Herbert Rosenfeld, Betty Joseph, Michael Feldman, Ignes Sodré, and Elizabeth Spillius from 1959 to the present; Part 3—The Plural Psychoanalytic Scene, in which a group of analysts from the British Society, Continental Europe, the United States, and Latin America, take up how projective identification has been redefined, deployed clinically in the various analytic cultures across the universe of psychoanalysis.

[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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