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Amir, D. (2018). Studium and Punctum in Psychoanalytic Writing: Reading Case Studies Through Roland Barthes. Psychoanal. Rev., 105(1):51-65.

(2018). Psychoanalytic Review, 105(1):51-65

Studium and Punctum in Psychoanalytic Writing: Reading Case Studies Through Roland Barthes

Dana Amir, Ph.D.

This paper focuses on the link between Roland Barthes's reflection on photography and the essential characteristics of psychoanalytic case studies. The case study, like the photograph, seeks to take hold of something nearly intangible. It attempts to capture in time, space, and language something whose dynamic presence remains elusive. The attempt to capture this object often strips it of its essence. Case studies may be accurate on their face while giving us the unpleasant sense that they have “deadened” their object in the process. This paper attempts to clarify what is dropped from the picture that the psychoanalytic writing is trying to take. The relation between the “cultural context” (the Studium) and the freedom to puncture and undermine this context in psychoanalytic writing is discussed through a fresh reading of Georges Perec's “W, or the Memory of Childhood” and through clinical vignettes by Ronald Britton and Michael Eigen.

[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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