What Lacan Said About Women: A Psychoanalytic Study (Contemporary Theory Series)

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Psychoanalysis can be adapted to different cultures , as long as the therapist or counselor understands the client's culture. For example, Tori and Blimes found that defense mechanisms were valid in a normative sample of 2, Thais. The use of certain defense mechanisms was related to cultural values. For example, Thais value calmness and collectiveness because of Buddhist beliefs , so they were low on regressive emotionality.

Psychoanalysis also applies because Freud used techniques that allowed him to get the subjective perceptions of his patients. He takes an objective approach by not facing his clients during his talk therapy sessions. He met with his patients wherever they were, such as when he used free association — where clients would say whatever came to mind without self-censorship.

His treatments had little to no structure for most cultures, especially Asian cultures. Therefore, it is more likely that Freudian constructs will be used in structured therapy Thompson, et al. In addition, Corey postulates that it will be necessary for a therapist to help clients develop a cultural identity as well as an ego identity. The cost to the patient of psychoanalytic treatment ranges widely from place to place and between practitioners. Low-fee analysis is often available in a psychoanalytic training clinic and graduate schools.

Otherwise, the fee set by each analyst varies with the analyst's training and experience. Since, in most locations in the United States, unlike in Ontario and Germany, classical analysis which usually requires sessions three to five times per week is not covered by health insurance, many analysts may negotiate their fees with patients whom they feel they can help, but who have financial difficulties. The modifications of analysis, which include psychodynamic therapy, brief therapies, and certain types of group therapy cf.

Slavson, S. As a result of the defense mechanisms and the lack of access to the unfathomable elements of the unconscious, psychoanalysis can be an expansive process that involves 2 to 5 sessions per week for several years. This type of therapy relies on the belief that reducing the symptoms will not actually help with the root causes or irrational drives.

The analyst typically is a 'blank screen', disclosing very little about themselves in order that the client can use the space in the relationship to work on their unconscious without interference from outside. The psychoanalyst uses various methods to help the patient to become more self-aware and to develop insights into their behavior and into the meanings of symptoms.

First and foremost, the psychoanalyst attempts to develop a confidential atmosphere in which the patient can feel safe reporting his feelings, thoughts and fantasies. Analysands as people in analysis are called are asked to report whatever comes to mind without fear of reprisal. Freud called this the "fundamental rule". Analysands are asked to talk about their lives, including their early life, current life and hopes and aspirations for the future. They are encouraged to report their fantasies, "flash thoughts" and dreams.

In fact, Freud believed that dreams were, "the royal road to the unconscious"; he devoted an entire volume to the interpretation of dreams. Also, psychoanalysts encourage their patients to recline on a couch. Typically, the psychoanalyst sits, out of sight, behind the patient. The psychoanalyst's task, in collaboration with the analysand, is to help deepen the analysand's understanding of those factors, outside of his awareness, that drive his behaviors.

In the safe environment of the psychoanalytic setting, the analysand becomes attached to the analyst and pretty soon he begins to experience the same conflicts with his analyst that he experiences with key figures in his life such as his parents, his boss, his significant other, etc. It is the psychoanalyst's role to point out these conflicts and to interpret them. The transferring of these internal conflicts onto the analyst is called "transference".

Many studies have also been done on briefer "dynamic" treatments; these are more expedient to measure, and shed light on the therapeutic process to some extent. On average, classical analysis may last 5. Psychoanalytic training in the United States involves a personal psychoanalysis for the trainee, approximately hours of class instruction, with a standard curriculum, over a four or five-year period. Typically, this psychoanalysis must be conducted by a Supervising and Training Analyst.

Most institutes but not all within the American Psychoanalytic Association, require that Supervising and Training Analysts become certified by the American Board of Psychoanalysts. Certification entails a blind review in which the psychoanalyst's work is vetted by psychoanalysts outside of their local community. After earning certification, these psychoanalysts undergo another hurdle in which they are specially vetted by senior members of their own institute.

Supervising and Training analysts are held to the highest clinical and ethical standards. Moreover, they are required to have extensive experience conducting psychoanalyses. Similarly, class instruction for psychoanalytic candidates is rigorous. Typically classes meet several hours a week, or for a full day or two every other weekend during the academic year; this varies with the institute.

Candidates generally have an hour of supervision each week, with a Supervising and Training Analyst, on each psychoanalytic case. The minimum number of cases varies between institutes, often two to four cases. Male and female cases are required. Supervision must go on for at least a few years on one or more cases. Supervision is done in the supervisor's office, where the trainee presents material from the psychoanalytic work that week.

In supervision, the patient's unconscious conflicts are explored, also, transference-countertransference constellations are examined. Also, clinical technique is taught. Because of theoretical differences, there are independent institutes, usually founded by psychologists, who until were not permitted access to psychoanalytic training institutes of the APsaA.

Currently there are between 75 and independent institutes in the United States. As well, other institutes are affiliated to other organizations such as the American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry , and the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis. At most psychoanalytic institutes in the United States, qualifications for entry include a terminal degree in a mental health field, such as Ph. A few institutes restrict applicants to those already holding an M.

It was founded by the analyst Theodor Reik. Some psychoanalytic training has been set up as a post-doctoral fellowship in university settings, such as at Duke University, Yale University, New York University, Adelphi University and Columbia University. Other psychoanalytic institutes may not be directly associated with universities, but the faculty at those institutes usually hold contemporaneous faculty positions with psychology Ph. The IPA is the world's primary accrediting and regulatory body for psychoanalysis. Their mission is to assure the continued vigor and development of psychoanalysis for the benefit of psychoanalytic patients.

It works in partnership with its 70 constituent organizations in 33 countries to support 11, members. In the US, there are 77 psychoanalytical organizations, institutes associations in the United States, which are spread across the states of America. APSaA has 38 affiliated societies which have 10 or more active members who practice in a given geographical area. The aims of APSaA and other psychoanalytical organizations are: provide ongoing educational opportunities for its members, stimulate the development and research of psychoanalysis, provide training and organize conferences.

There are eight affiliated study groups in the United States. A study group is the first level of integration of a psychoanalytical body within the IPA, followed by a provisional society and finally a member society. Until the establishment of the Division of Psychoanalysis, psychologists who had trained in independent institutes had no national organization. The Division of Psychoanalysis now has approximately 4, members and approximately 30 local chapters in the United States.

The Division of Psychoanalysis holds two annual meetings or conferences and offers continuing education in theory, research and clinical technique, as do their affiliated local chapters. This organization is affiliated with the IPA. In there were approximately 3, individual members in 22 countries, speaking 18 different languages.

There are also 25 psychoanalytic societies. Until it was known as the National Membership Committee on Psychoanalysis. The organization was founded because although social workers represented the larger number of people who were training to be psychoanalysts, they were underrepresented as supervisors and teachers at the institutes they attended. It holds a bi-annual national conference and numerous annual local conferences. Experiences of psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists and research into infant and child development have led to new insights.

Theories have been further developed and the results of empirical research are now more integrated in the psychoanalytic theory. With the expansion of psychoanalysis in the United Kingdom the Society was renamed the British Psychoanalytical Society in Soon after, the Institute of Psychoanalysis was established to administer the Society's activities. These include: the training of psychoanalysts, the development of the theory and practice of psychoanalysis, the provision of treatment through The London Clinic of Psychoanalysis, the publication of books in The New Library of Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Ideas.

The Institute of Psychoanalysis also publishes The International Journal of Psychoanalysis , maintains a library, furthers research, and holds public lectures. The society has a Code of Ethics and an Ethical Committee. The society, the institute and the clinic are all located at Byron House. The society is a component of the IPA, a body with members on all five continents that safeguards professional and ethical practice.

All members of the British Psychoanalytical Society are required to undertake continuing professional development. Sandler , and Donald Winnicott. The Institute of Psychoanalysis is the foremost publisher of psychoanalytic literature. The Society, in conjunction with Random House , will soon publish a new, revised and expanded Standard Edition.

With the New Library of Psychoanalysis the Institute continues to publish the books of leading theorists and practitioners. Now in its 84th year, it has one of the largest circulations of any psychoanalytic journal. Over a hundred years of case reports and studies in the journal Modern Psychoanalysis , the Psychoanalytic Quarterly , the International Journal of Psychoanalysis and the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association have analyzed the efficacy of analysis in cases of neurosis and character or personality problems.

Psychoanalysis modified by object relations techniques has been shown to be effective in many cases of ingrained problems of intimacy and relationship cf. Psychoanalytic treatment, in other situations, may run from about a year to many years, depending on the severity and complexity of the pathology. Psychoanalytic theory has, from its inception, been the subject of criticism and controversy. Freud remarked on this early in his career, when other physicians in Vienna ostracized him for his findings that hysterical conversion symptoms were not limited to women.

Challenges to analytic theory began with Otto Rank and Alfred Adler turn of the 20th century , continued with behaviorists e. Wolpe into the s and '50s, and have persisted e. Criticisms come from those who object to the notion that there are mechanisms, thoughts or feelings in the mind that could be unconscious. Criticisms also have been leveled against the idea of "infantile sexuality" the recognition that children between ages two and six imagine things about procreation.

Criticisms of theory have led to variations in analytic theories, such as the work of Ronald Fairbairn , Michael Balint , and John Bowlby. In the past 30 years or so, the criticisms have centered on the issue of empirical verification. Psychoanalysis has been used as a research tool into childhood development cf. Most recently, psychoanalytic researchers who have integrated attachment theory into their work, including Alicia Lieberman, Susan Coates , and Daniel Schechter have explored the role of parental traumatization in the development of young children's mental representations of self and others.

There are different forms of psychoanalysis and psychotherapies in which psychoanalytic thinking is practiced. Besides classical psychoanalysis there is for example psychoanalytic psychotherapy , a therapeutic approach which widens "the accessibility of psychoanalytic theory and clinical practices that had evolved over plus years to a larger number of individuals. The psychoanalytic profession has been resistant to researching efficacy. A study found evidence of better long-term outcomes for depression after psychoanalysis.

Meta-analyses in and found support or evidence for the efficacy of psychoanalytic therapy, thus further research is needed. In , the American Psychological Association made comparisons between psychodynamic treatment and a non-dynamic competitor and found that 6 were superior, 5 were inferior, 28 had no difference and 63 were adequate.

The study found that this could be used as a basis "to make psychodynamic psychotherapy an 'empirically validated' treatment. A meta-analysis of Long Term Psychodynamic Psychotherapy in found an overall effect size of. This study concluded the recovery rate following LTPP was equal to control treatments, including treatment as usual, and found the evidence for the effectiveness of LTPP to be limited and at best conflicting. According to a French review conducted by INSERM , psychoanalysis was presumed or proven effective at treating panic disorder , post-traumatic stress and personality disorders.

The world's largest randomized controlled trial on therapy with anorexia nervosa outpatients, the ANTOP-Study, published in The Lancet , found evidence that modified psychodynamic therapy is effective in increasing body mass index after a month treatment and that the effect is persistent until at least a year after concluding the treatment. Relative to other treatments assigned, it was found to be as effective in increasing body mass index as cognitive behavioral therapy and as a standard treatment protocol which consisted of referral to a list of psychotherapists with experience in treating eating-disorders in addition to close monitoring and treatment by a family doctor.

Furthermore, considering the outcome to be the recovery rate one year after the treatment, measured by the proportion of patients who no longer met the diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa, modified psychodynamic therapy was found to be more effective than the standard treatment protocol and as effective as cognitive behavioral therapy. A systematic review of the medical literature by the Cochrane Collaboration concluded that no data exist demonstrating that psychodynamic psychotherapy is effective in treating schizophrenia and severe mental illness, and cautioned that medication should always be used alongside any type of talk therapy in schizophrenia cases.

Both Freud and psychoanalysis have been criticized in extreme terms. Early critics of psychoanalysis believed that its theories were based too little on quantitative and experimental research , and too much on the clinical case study method. Some have accused Freud of fabrication, most famously in the case of Anna O. Karl Popper argued that psychoanalysis is a pseudoscience because its claims are not testable and cannot be refuted; that is, they are not falsifiable. Indeed, they have refused to specify experimental conditions under which they would give up their basic assumptions.

Scruton nevertheless concluded that psychoanalysis is not genuinely scientific, on the grounds that it involves an unacceptable dependence on metaphor.

Cognitive scientists , in particular, have also weighed in. Martin Seligman , a prominent academic in positive psychology wrote, "Thirty years ago, the cognitive revolution in psychology overthrew both Freud and the behaviorists, at least in academia. Kihlstrom [] have also criticized the field as pseudoscience. Richard Feynman wrote off psychoanalysts as mere "witch doctors":. If you look at all of the complicated ideas that they have developed in an infinitesimal amount of time, if you compare to any other of the sciences how long it takes to get one idea after the other, if you consider all the structures and inventions and complicated things, the ids and the egos, the tensions and the forces, and the pushes and the pulls, I tell you they can't all be there.

It's too much for one brain or a few brains to have cooked up in such a short time. The psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey , in Witchdoctors and Psychiatrists , agreed that psychoanalytic theories have no more scientific basis than the theories of traditional native healers, "witchdoctors" or modern "cult" alternatives such as est.

She scrutinized and rejected the validity of Freud's drive theory , including the Oedipus complex, which, according to her and Jeffrey Masson , blames the child for the abusive sexual behavior of adults. He concluded that there is little evidence to support the existence of the Oedipus complex. Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze claimed that the institution of psychoanalysis has become a center of power and that its confessional techniques resemble the Christian tradition.

The theoretical foundations of psychoanalysis lie in the same philosophical currents that lead to interpretive phenomenology rather than in those that lead to scientific positivism , making the theory largely incompatible with positivist approaches to the study of the mind. Although numerous studies have shown that the efficacy of therapy is primarily related to the quality of the therapist, [] rather than the school or technique or training, a French report from INSERM concluded that psychoanalytic therapy is less effective than other psychotherapies including cognitive behavioral therapy for certain diseases.

This report used a meta-analysis of numerous other studies to find whether the treatment was "proven" or "presumed" to be effective on different diseases. A survey of scientific research suggested that while personality traits corresponding to Freud's oral, anal, Oedipal, and genital phases can be observed, they do not necessarily manifest as stages in the development of children. However, these stages should not be viewed as crucial to modern psychoanalysis. What is crucial to modern psychoanalytic theory and practice is the power of the unconscious and the transference phenomenon.

The idea of "unconscious" is contested because human behavior can be observed while human mental activity has to be inferred. However, the unconscious is now a popular topic of study in the fields of experimental and social psychology e. Recent developments in neuroscience have resulted in one side arguing that it has provided a biological basis for unconscious emotional processing in line with psychoanalytic theory i.

Shlomo Kalo explains that the scientific materialism that flourished in the 19th century severely harmed religion and rejected whatever called spiritual. The institution of the confession priest in particular was badly damaged. The empty void that this institution left behind was swiftly occupied by the newborn psychoanalysis.

In his writings Kalo claims that psychoanalysis basic approach is erroneous. It represents the mainline wrong assumptions that happiness is unreachable and that the natural desire of a human being is to exploit his fellow men for his own pleasure and benefit. Jacques Derrida incorporated aspects of psychoanalytic theory into his theory of deconstruction in order to question what he called the ' metaphysics of presence '. Derrida also turns some of these ideas against Freud, to reveal tensions and contradictions in his work.

For example, although Freud defines religion and metaphysics as displacements of the identification with the father in the resolution of the Oedipal complex, Derrida insists in The Postcard: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond that the prominence of the father in Freud's own analysis is itself indebted to the prominence given to the father in Western metaphysics and theology since Plato. Psychoanalysis continues to be practiced by psychiatrists, social workers, and other mental health professionals; however, its practice has declined. In Bradley Peterson, a psychoanalyst, child psychiatrist and the director of the Institute for the Developing Mind at Children's Hospital Los Angeles , said, "I think most people would agree that psychoanalysis as a form of treatment is on its last legs".

For session frequency, Hinshelwood, Robert D. Hinshelwood, and Jean-Marie Gauthier eds. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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Important figures. Important works. Schools of thought. Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis. Main article: Culturalist psychoanalysts. Main article: Robert Langs. The strongest reason for considering Freud a pseudo-scientist is that he claimed to have tested — and thus to have provided the most cogent grounds for accepting — theories which are either untestable or even if testable had not been tested. It is spurious claims to have tested an untestable or untested theory which are the most pertinent grounds for deeming Freud and his followers pseudoscientists Many aspects of Freudian theory are indeed out of date, and they should be: Freud died in , and he has been slow to undertake further revisions.

His critics, however, are equally behind the times, attacking Freudian views of the s as if they continue to have some currency in their original form. Psychodynamic theory and therapy have evolved considerably since when Freud's bearded countenance was last sighted in earnest. Contemporary psychoanalysts and psychodynamic therapists no longer write much about ids and egos, nor do they conceive of treatment for psychological disorders as an archaeological expedition in search of lost memories.

The science of psychoanalysis is the bedrock of psychodynamic understanding and forms the fundamental theoretical frame of reference for a variety of forms of therapeutic intervention, embracing not only psychoanalysis itself but also various forms of psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapy and related forms of therapy using psychodynamic concepts. However, its limitations are more widely recognized and it is assumed that many important advances in the future will come from other areas, particularly biologic psychiatry.

As yet unresolved is the appropriate role of psychoanalytic thinking in organizing the treatment of patients and the training of psychiatrists after that biologic revolution has born fruit.


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Will treatments aimed at biologic defects or abnormalities become technical steps in a program organized in a psychoanalytic framework? Will psychoanalysis serve to explain and guide supportive intervention for individuals whose lives are deformed by biologic defect and therapeutic interventions, much as it now does for patients with chronic physical illness, with the psychoanalyst on the psychiatric dialysis program? Or will we look back on the role of psychoanalysis in the treatment of the seriously mentally ill as the last and most scientifically enlightened phase of the humanistic tradition in psychiatry, a tradition that became extinct when advances in biology allowed us to cure those we had so long only comforted?

Of course, one is supposed to answer that it is many things — a theory, a research method, a therapy, a body of knowledge. In what might be considered an unfortunately abbreviated description, Freud said that anyone who recognizes transference and resistance is a psychoanalyst, even if he comes to conclusions other than his own. I prefer to think of the analytic situation more broadly, as one in which someone seeking help tries to speak as freely as he can to someone who listens as carefully as he can with the aim of articulating what is going on between them and why.

David Rapaport a once defined the analytic situation as carrying the method of interpersonal relationship to its last consequences. A Short Introduction to Psychoanalysis. SAGE, , Penguin Books, , Kaplan and Sadock's Synopsis of Psychiatry. For point 7, Chessick, Richard D. Introductions [ edit ] Brenner, Charles An Elementary Textbook of Psychoanalysis.

Elliott, Anthony An introduction that explains psychoanalytic theory with interpretations of major theorists. Fine, Reuben The History of Psychoanalysis. New Expanded Edition. Northvale: Jason Aronson. An Outline of Psychoanalysis. Hypothesis and Evidence in Psychoanalysis. Chicago University Press, Chicago. A critical view of Freudian theory. Psychoanalysis as Critical Theory", Lexington Books, Freud and beyond: a history of modern psychoanalytic thought. Basic Books, New York. Griselda Pollock , "Beyond Oedipus. Edited by Vanda Zajko and Miriam Leonard.

Oxford University Press, Madison Conn. Aziz, Robert Borch-Jacobsen, Mikkel Burnham, John, ed. Cioffi, Frank. Chicago: Open Court, New York: Basic Books. Fisher, Seymour, Greenberg Roger P. New York: John Wiley. American Philosophical Quarterly. Roustang, Francois Freud: A Collection of Critical Essays. New York: Anchor Books. Zur wissenschaftlichen Fundierung von Psychoanalyse-Kritik. Stuttgart: W. Commentationes Scientiarum Socialium , Helsinki: Finnish Academy of Science and Letters.

Freud and his Critics. Routledge, Review : Psychodynamic Practice 14 1 Psychotherapy list. Psychoanalysis Adlerian therapy Analytical therapy Mentalization-based treatment Transference focused psychotherapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy Cognitive therapy Compassion-focused therapy Dialectical behavior therapy Rational emotive behavior therapy Clinical behavior analysis Acceptance and commitment therapy Functional analytic psychotherapy List. Person-centered therapy Emotionally focused therapy Existential therapy Focusing Gestalt therapy Logotherapy.

Psychoanalysis

Eclectic psychotherapy Integrative psychotherapy Transtheoretical model. Clinical formulation Clinical pluralism Common factors theory Discontinuation History Practitioner—scholar model. Couples therapy Family therapy Psychodrama Sensitivity training. Sigmund Freud. Categories : Psychoanalysis Alternative medical treatments Pseudoscience.

Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. In other projects Wikimedia Commons Wikiquote. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Part of a series of articles on. Psychology portal. Library resources about Psychoanalysis. Resources in your library Resources in other libraries. Look up psychoanalysis in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. Wikimedia Commons has media related to Psychoanalysis. However, as the infant matures, he or she becomes aware that his or her mothers' attention is not wholly directed toward the infant in a reciprocal manner. The mother participates in a larger social context dominated by the Symbolic order.

The infant fantasizes that if he or she could occupy the role of the Phallus-the master signifer of that Symbolic order-he or she could regain the full attention of the mother. However, this is impossible. In exchange for giving up this fantasy-which the Father demands of the child in the Oedipus complex-the infant gains his or her own relationship to the Phallus. The infant must break with the mother nature, pre-symbolic in order to become a subject culture, symbolic order. One among many unique claims of Lacan's is that the infant acquires sexual difference in his or her relationship to the Phallus.

According to Lacan, sexual difference is not about biological imperative e. Hence, in the Lacanian view, the body as humans understand it is something that is constructed in the mirror stage, and sexually differentiated in the entrance to the Symbolic order. Irigaray critically appropriates this radical description of sexual difference. Irigaray is more concerned with how culture-and language as a product of culture-understands sexual difference and subjectivity than with arguing that truths about sexual difference or subjectivity emerge out of biology itself.

However she distances herself from Lacan in two key manners. First, Irigaray disagrees with Lacan's depiction of the Symbolic order as ahistorical and unchanging. Irigaray believes that language systems are malleable, and largely determined by power relationships that are in flux. Second, Irigaray remains unconvinced by Lacan's claims that the Phallus is an ahistorical master signifier of the Symbolic order that has no connection to male anatomy. In "Cosi Fan Tutti," she argues that the Phallus is not a purely symbolic category, but is ultimately an extension of-and reinforcement of-Freud's description of the world according to a one-sex model.

According to Irigaray, the Phallus as the master signifier that can be traced back to male anatomy is evidence that the Symbolic order is constructed and not ahistorical. Irigaray is also influenced by her extensive study of the history of philosophy. Speculum of the Other Woman discusses the elision of all things feminine in traditional thinkers such as Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, and Hegel. An Ethics of Sexual Difference also discusses the elision of the feminine, but specifically from the perspective of ethical relationships between men and women. Irigaray is also writing a series of texts devoted to the four elements.

The elemental works Marine Lover of Friedrich Nietzsche and The Forgetting of Air in Martin Heidegger are sustained discussions of the exclusions implemented by key male philosophers. No one philosopher can be identified as influencing Irigaray. She appropriates from various thinkers while maintaining a critical distance. For example, her method of mimesis resembles Derridian deconstruction. However, she also criticizes Derrida's deconstruction of the category "woman" see Derrida's Spurs in Marine Lover.

As another example, she agrees with Heidegger that every age has a concept that underlies and informs its beliefs, but is radically unknown to it. For Heidegger it was "Being," for Irigaray it is "sexual difference. While she is clearly influenced by the history of philosophy, her own project of creating a new space for redefining women does not permit her to privilege any one philosophical approach. Irigaray describes herself as analyzing both the analysts and the philosophers. Perhaps the most famous critical tool employed by Irigaray is mimesis. Mimesis is a process of resubmitting women to stereotypical views of women in order to call the views themselves into question.

Key to mimesis is that the stereotypical views are not repeated faithfully. One example is that if women are viewed as illogical, women should speak logically about this view. According to Irigaray, the juxtaposition of illogical and logical undermines the claim that women are illogical. Or if women's bodies are viewed as multiple and dispersed, women should speak from that position in a playful way that suggests that this view stems from a masculine economy that values identity and unity e.

This type of mimesis is also known as strategic essentialism. Irigaray's essay "This Sex Which Is Not One," in the text of the same name, provides several clear examples of this method.

What Lacan Said about Women : A Psychoanalytic Study

According to Irigaray, the very possibility of repeating a negative view unfaithfully suggests that women are something other than the view expressed. Irigaray repeats the views because she believes that overcoming harmful views of women cannot occur through simply ignoring the views. True to the methodology of psychoanalysis, she believes that negative views can only be overcome when they are exposed and demystified.

When successfully employed, mimesis repeats a negative view-without reducing women to that view-and makes fun of it such that the view itself must be discarded.

Irigaray's wager in utilizing mimesis with regard to female subjectivity is as follows. Male dominance has defined Western culture for centuries. According to Irigaray, the logic will not be altered until we call attention to the fact that subjectivity has changed before when male dominance has not. We must ask after the feminine other. Irigaray believes that only by asking after the other through mimesis will it be possible to affect a paradigm shift.

Irigaray employs mimesis because she believes that a 'second sex' cannot exist in its own right or with a positive form of identity as opposed to being viewed as a deformed version of male identity until we have not only challenged, but also passed back through the oppressive formulation of sexual difference in contemporary Western culture. While the goal of mimesis is to problematize the male definition of femininity to such a degree that a new definition of and, ultimately, an embodied subject position for women can emerge, Irigaray says in her earlier work that she will not prescribe in advance either the definition or the subject position.

In This Sex Which Is Not One , Irigaray clearly indicates that she will not redefine femininity because it would interfere with women redefining themselves for themselves. Further, she believes that she cannot describe the feminine e. A new definition for women has to emerge out of a mimetic engagement with the old definitions, and it is a collective process. Irigaray is, however, willing to provide material to help ignite the process of redefinition.

The material she offers varies from new concepts about religion and bodies-expressed through both the novel use of existing words and the creation of new words-to utopian ideals. Irigaray introduces these concepts in order to disrupt male dominance in religion. Irigaray follows Feuerbach in interpreting the divine as an organizing principle for both identity and culture.

Religion is thus viewed as caught up in power and culture. Irigaray specifically targets male dominated religions that posit a transcendental God. She suggests that in place of a religion that focuses on a transcendent God, we construct a divinity that is both sensible and transcendental. An example of utopian ideals can be found in Sexes and Genealogies, thinking the difference , and je, tu, nous. In these texts, Irigaray describes civil laws that she believes would help women achieve social existence mature subjectivity in Western culture.

In one law she suggests that virginity needs to be protected under the law so that women have control over their own sexuality. When these texts were first published, these views were widely interpreted as suggestions intended to initiate discussions between women utopian ideals and not as prescriptions for social change.

While Irigaray's later work has complicated this interpretation, it is still widely accepted. For example, she discusses the myth of Demeter, the goddess of the earth agriculture , and her daughter Persephone. In the myth, Zeus, Persephone's father, aids his brother Hades, king of the underworld, to abduct the young Perspephone. Hades has fallen in love with Persephone and wants her to be queen of the underworld. When Demeter learns that her daughter is missing, she is devastated and abandons her role as goddess of the earth.

The earth becomes barren. To reestablish harmony in the world, Zeus needs Demeter to return to her divine responsibilities. Zeus orders Hades to return Persephone. However, Persephone is tricked into eating a pomegranate seed that binds her to Hades forever. Under the persuasion of Zeus, Hades agrees to release Persephone from the underworld for half of each year. Demeter and Persephone love each other and Demeter strives to protect her daughter. However, in this myth they are ultimately at the mercy of the more powerful males. The myth is also an example of men exchanging women as if they were commodities.

Zeus conspires with his brother and, in effect, gives his daughter away without consulting either Persephone or Demeter. Irigaray utilizes myth to suggest that mothers and daughters need to protect their relationships and strengthen their bonds to one another. While she believes that women's social and political situation has to be addressed on a global level, she also thinks that change begins in individual relationships between women. Thus she stresses the need for mothers to represent themselves differently to their daughters, and to emphasize their daughter's subjectivity.

For example, in je, tu, nous , Irigaray offers suggestions for developing mother-daughter relationships such as displaying images of the mother-daughter couple, or consciously emphasizing that the daughter and the mother are both subjects in their own right. Changing relationships between mothers and daughters also requires language work.

Since Irigaray agrees with Lacan that one must enter language culture in order to be a subject, she believes that language itself must change if women are to have their own subjectivity that is recognized at a cultural level. She believes that language typically excludes women from an active subject position. Further, inclusion of women in the current form of subjectivity is not the solution. Irigaray's goal is for there to be more than one subject position in language.

In order to prove that language excludes women from subjectivity, Irigaray conducted research that links the exclusion of women from subjectivity in Western culture to the speech patterns of men and women. She concluded that general speech patterns specific to each sex do exist and that women often do not occupy the subject position in language.

She argues that in language experiments, women were less willing to occupy the subject position. Referring to the French language as a clear example-even though she believes that the structure of the English language does not exempt it from sexism-she discusses the dominance of the masculine in both the plural and the neuter, which takes the same form as the masculine. Irigaray argues that objects of value, such as the sun or God, are typically marked with the masculine gender while less important objects are feminine.

Since language and society mutually affect each other, Irigaray believes that language must change along with society. Failure to see the importance of changing language is an impediment to real change. According to Irigaray, it is crucial that women learn to occupy the position of "I" and "you" in language. Irigaray views the "I" and the "you" as markers of subjectivity. In her text I love to you , Irigaray describes how she determined that women do not occupy the subject position.

She conducted an experiment where she gave her subjects a noun e. The majority of both men and women consistently chose "il". She noted in another experiment, where she gave a sequence that implied the use of "elle" e. In contrast, when she gave a sequence that implied the use of il as a subject, it was almost always used. Further, Irigaray discovered that young girls seek an intersubjective dialogue with their mothers, but that their mothers did not reciprocate. Irigaray concludes from her research that women are not subjects in language in the same way as men.

She believes that men and women do not produce the same sentences with similar cues, they use prepositions differently, and they represent temporality in language differently. Irigaray seeks for men and women to recognize each other in language as irreducible others. She argues that this cannot happen until women occupy the subject position, and men learn to communicate with other subjects. Irigaray believes that a language of 'indirection' could help bring this to fruition. She describes this in her book I love to you.

The title itself is an example of this language of indirection. Saying "I love to you" rather than "I love you" is a way of symbolizing a respect for the other. The "to" is a verbal barrier against appropriating or subjugating the other. Speaking differently in this manner is an integral part of Irigaray's general project to cultivate true intersubjectivity between the genders. However, she does not put forth a definitive plan for implementing this change in language. While ethics is a constant theme throughout her work, Irigaray's text An Ethics of Sexual Difference is devoted to this theme.

In this text, Irigaray intertwines essays of her own on the ethics of sexual difference with dialogues that she has created between herself and six male philosophers: Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Spinoza, Merleau-Ponty and Levinas. Irigaray groups the dialogues into four sections that each begin with an essay of her own about sexual difference and love. Her own essay signals what themes she will address with regard to each of the philosophers she discusses.

Irigaray utilizes her analyses of the male philosophers to discuss the following themes which are essential to her ethics: creative relationships between men and women that are not based in reproduction, separate 'places' for men and women emotional and embodied , wonder at the difference of the other, acknowledgement of finiteness and intersubjectivity, and an embodied divinity. In the first section, which engages Plato and Aristotle, Irigaray emphasizes that an ethical love relationship must be creative independent of procreation, and that both men and women need to have a place for themselves be embodied individuals that is open to, but not subsumable by, the other.

In the second section, using Descartes and Spinoza, she argues that ethical love cannot occur between men and women until there is respect and wonder for the irreducible difference of the other, and an admittance and acceptance of one's finiteness. In the third section, in which there is no engagement with a male philosopher, Irigaray describes how the infinite is essential to love between men and women. She believes that it is unethical that women have not had access to subjectivity, and that the universals of our culture have been dominated by a male imaginary.

She says that ethics requires that men and women understand themselves as embodied subjects. In the fourth and final section, Irigaray discusses Merleau-Ponty and Levinas. She argues that if ethical relationships are to occur between men and women, men must overcome nostalgia for the womb. Thus will they develop their identity, and open up a space for women to create their own.

Further, Irigaray believes that we must think both otherness and divinity in conjunction with embodiment. At the end of her An Ethics of Sexual Difference , it is clear that Irigaray does not believe that Western culture is ethical, and that the primary reason is its treatment of women and nature.

She believes that nothing short of altering our views of subjectivity, science, and religion can change this situation. Men and women must work together to learn to respect the irreducible difference between them. Women must become full subjects, and men must recognize that they are embodied. Further, ethical love relationships are based in respect for alterity and creativity outside of reproduction. Her text I love to you , which focuses on both language and ethics, is a clear example of how her discussion of ethics can also be developed from a Hegelian perspective.


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Irigaray refuses to belong to any one group in the feminist movement because she believes that there is a tendency for groups to set themselves up against each other. When groups within the women's movement fight each other, this detracts from the overall goal of trying to positively alter the social, political, and symbolic position of women. Irigaray models solidarity among women in her unwillingness to belong exclusively to one group. Irigaray is particularly active in the feminist movement in Italy.

Texts such as I love to you , Democracy Begins Between Two , and Two Be Two were all inspired by and, at various moments, give accounts of Irigaray's experience with the Italian women's movement. An example of Irigaray's most recent collaborations with Italy, and a testimony to her commitment to her ideas, is her collaboration with the Commission for Equal Opportunities for the region of Emilia-Romagna.

She was invited by this region to educate its citizens about her political ideals. Her text, Democracy Begins Between Two , was a part of that collaboration insofar as it was the theoretical work behind her role as adviser. In that text she also describes how she and Renzo Imbeni co-authored a "Report on Citizenship of the Union. Irigaray's use of strategic essentialism has been criticized as essentialism itself-or of endorsing the belief that social behavior follows from biology. The appearance of her translated work in the United States was met with great opposition. She was read as further naturalizing women at a time when women were benefiting both politically and socially from arguing that biology did not matter.

Irigaray and her supporters defended her engagement with essentialist views as a strategy. They argued that when Irigaray seeks to alter the exclusion of the feminine by repeating or reiterating naturalizing discourses about female bodies, she is not suggesting a return to a lost female body that pre-exists patriarchy. Rather, she is employing her strategy of mimesis. While many contemporary interpreters now accept this view, strategic essentialism remains a controversial aspect of Irigaray's work. The concern is that the psychoanalytic discourse that Irigaray relies upon-even though she is critical of it-universalizes and abstracts away from material conditions that are of central concern to feminism.

Materialist feminists do not believe that definitive changes in the structure of politics can result from the changes Irigaray proposes in psychoanalytic theories of subject formation.

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However, Irigaray's goal to challenge psychoanalytic theory and to change the definition of femininity evinces an agreement with the materialist position. Both agree that the ahistorical, overly universalized character of traditional psychoanalytic theory must be rejected. Further, Irigaray argues that focusing on language work and on altering allegedly intractable structures does not mean that women have to ignore material conditions. In This Sex Which Is Not One , Irigaray says that simultaneous with her challenges to the symbolic order, women must fight for equal wages, and against discrimination in employment and education.

Irigaray recognizes that it is important to find ways to challenge the social and economic position in which women find themselves. But focusing exclusively on women's material or economic situation as the key to change will only-at best-grant women access to a male social role insofar as it will not change the definition of women.

Irigaray's response to first changing material conditions would be that it would leave the question of a non-patriarchal view of female identity untouched. Due to the force of the oppression of women, it is the definitions that have to be changed before women, as distinct from men, will attain a social existence. Related to the materialist critique is the question of whether or not Irigaray's psychoanalytic approach can account for real differences between women.

Irigaray often discusses a subject position for women and a new definition of women. A common question asked of Irigaray is whether or not a universal definition for women is desirable considering the real differences between women. More specifically, if Irigaray insists on a universal subject position for women, will it be exclusively determined by first world, white, middle class women?

Can her universal successfully include the experiences of minority women, second and third world women, and economically disadvantaged women? Or does it create further exclusion among the excluded themselves? Irigaray's interpreters remain divided on this question.

altcreate.wecan-group.com/vuela-al-cielo-en-las.php

Jacques Lacan (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Irigaray is often criticized along with other French feminists, such as Julia Kristeva, for the opacity of her writing style. Based on her writing style, she has been dismissed as elitist. Irigaray's writing is undeniably challenging and complex. But, the difficulty of her work can be equally productive as it is labor intensive.

Irigaray's opacity can be viewed as fruitful when understood in conjunction with one mode of writing that she assumes-that of an analyst. In this style of writing, Irigaray not only will not assume the position of a master-knower who imparts knowledge in a linear manner, she also considers her readers' reactions to her work to be an integral part of that work. Her alleged failure to be clear, or to give a concrete, linear feminist theory, are invitations for readers to imagine their own vision for the future.

Like the psychoanalytic session, her texts are a collaboration between writer analyst and reader analysand. Irigaray believes that, through writing in this style, she can take culture as a whole as her analysand. Irigaray's view of ethics is criticized because she describes the quintessential ethical relationship using a man and a woman. The question arises of whether or not Irigaray is suggesting that the heterosexual couple is the model for ethical relationships.

Since it is unclear whether or not Irigaray's view can be applied to other types of relationships e. Irigaray's most recent work raises the final point of controversy. In her earlier work, Irigaray refuses to give a new definition of women because she thinks that women must give it to themselves. However, in her most recent work she has developed laws that she submitted to the European Parliament for ratification.

Irigaray's interpreters debate about the relationship between her early work and her most recent texts. Is there continuity between the early and the later position? Or has Irigaray abandoned her earlier project? A spectrum of interpretations are available with no final answer. Sarah K. Donovan Email: Sarah. Donovan villanova. Luce Irigaray ? Biography In a interview with Margaret Whitford, Luce Irigaray specifically says that she does not like to be asked personal questions.

Irigaray's Project Irigaray argues that, since ancient times, mothers have been associated with nature and unthinking matter. Influences Irigaray's interdisciplinary interests in philosophy, psychoanalysis, and linguistics underscore that her work has more than one influence. Psychoanalysis Irigaray states on the opening page of An Ethics of Sexual Difference that each age is defined by a philosophical issue that calls to be thoroughly examined-ours is sexual difference.

Philosophy Irigaray is also influenced by her extensive study of the history of philosophy. Major Themes a. Mimesis Irigaray describes herself as analyzing both the analysts and the philosophers. Novel Language and Utopian Ideals While the goal of mimesis is to problematize the male definition of femininity to such a degree that a new definition of and, ultimately, an embodied subject position for women can emerge, Irigaray says in her earlier work that she will not prescribe in advance either the definition or the subject position.

Language Since Irigaray agrees with Lacan that one must enter language culture in order to be a subject, she believes that language itself must change if women are to have their own subjectivity that is recognized at a cultural level. Ethics While ethics is a constant theme throughout her work, Irigaray's text An Ethics of Sexual Difference is devoted to this theme.

Politics Irigaray refuses to belong to any one group in the feminist movement because she believes that there is a tendency for groups to set themselves up against each other. Criticisms a. Strategic Essentialism Irigaray's use of strategic essentialism has been criticized as essentialism itself-or of endorsing the belief that social behavior follows from biology. Elides Differences Related to the materialist critique is the question of whether or not Irigaray's psychoanalytic approach can account for real differences between women.

Opaque Writing Style Irigaray is often criticized along with other French feminists, such as Julia Kristeva, for the opacity of her writing style. Exclusive Ethics Irigaray's view of ethics is criticized because she describes the quintessential ethical relationship using a man and a woman. Later Work Irigaray's most recent work raises the final point of controversy. References and Further Reading a. English Translations Irigaray, Luce.

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