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From Death Instinct to Attachment Theory: The Primacy of the Child in Freud, Klein, and Hermann

Overview

Two leading psychoanalysts resolve the conflict between attachment theory and trauma theory.

In From Death Instinct to Attachment Theory, Tomas Geyskens and Philippe Van Haute address a theoretical conflict at the heart of contemporary psychoanalysis. Analytic theory, especially the work of Melanie Klein, asserts the developmental primacy of infantile Hilflosigkeit and the trauma it inevitably inflicts; however, John Bowlby and other attachment theorists have shown that ...

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Overview

Two leading psychoanalysts resolve the conflict between attachment theory and trauma theory.

In From Death Instinct to Attachment Theory, Tomas Geyskens and Philippe Van Haute address a theoretical conflict at the heart of contemporary psychoanalysis. Analytic theory, especially the work of Melanie Klein, asserts the developmental primacy of infantile Hilflosigkeit and the trauma it inevitably inflicts; however, John Bowlby and other attachment theorists have shown that attachment to the mother is primary and instinctive—and not the result of traumatic helplessness.

Geyskens and Van Haute resolve the apparent tension between the empirical fact of the primacy of attachment and the fundamental psychoanalytic theory of infantile trauma by drawing on Imre Hermann’s distinction between natural development and subjective history. Arguing that Hermann’s theory constitutes a workable clinical anthropology of attachment, they undertake a deep and revealing analysis of the work of Freud and Klein on the death instinct, trauma, and infantile sexuality; the critique leveled by attachment theorists like Bowlby; and the overlooked insights of the Hungarian School of Psychoanalysis.

From Death Instinct to Attachment Theory offers an elegant answer to an important problem in psychoanalysis and provides new insight into the sort of clinical phenomena that led Freud to move beyond the pleasure principle in the first place.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590511527
  • Publisher: Other Press, LLC
  • Publication date: 8/14/2007
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 8.96 (w) x 6.08 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author

Tomas Geyskens, Ph.D.

Tomas Geyskens, Ph.D., is the author of Our Original Scenesand Confusion of Tongues (Other Press, 2004). He is a member of the Center for Psychoanalysis and Philosophical Anthropology and a practicing member of the Belgian School for Psychoanalysis.

Philippe Van Haute

Philippe Van Haute is a practicing psychoanalyst and a professor of philosophical anthropology at the University of Nijmegen. His books include Against Adaptation (Other Press, 2002) and Confusion of Tongues.

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Table of Contents


Introduction     ix
The Death Instinct: A Superfluous Hypothesis?     ix
The Primacy of Trauma: An Unacceptable Hypothesis?     xiii
The Primacy of Trauma or the Primacy of Attachment: An Indissoluble Dilemma?     xvi
The Primacy of Sexuality: A Hypothesis Overcome?     xviii
The Death Instinct, Trauma, and Sexuality in the Work of Freud     1
Psychic Continuity and the Pleasure Principle     4
Infantile Amnesia and Organic Repression     8
Trauma and the Compulsion to Repeat     10
A Death Instinct?     15
The Repetition of Primitive Catastrophes     18
The First Taboo     22
Castration     29
Conclusion     33
The Death Instinct, Trauma, and Sexuality in the Work of Melanie Klein     35
The Death Instinct, Anxiety, and Guilt     37
The Traumatic Origin of Subjectivity in the Work of Klein     42
Klein's Study of Little Dick     42
A Death Instinct, or the Primacy of Trauma?     45
Trauma and Helplessness in Freud and Klein     53
A Theory of Anaclisis of Aggressivity?     55
The Positions of the Subject     61
The Paranoid-Schizoid Position     64
TheDepressive Position     72
Further Reflections on the Paranoid-Schizoid Position and the Depressive Position     75
Phantasy in the Work of Klein     79
Sexuality in the Work of Klein     85
Conclusion     90
Between Detachment and Inconsolability: Toward a Clinical Anthropology of Attachment     95
Attachment in the Work of Freud     98
Attachment and Loss     99
The Instinct of Mastery and Curiosity     103
Discussion     108
Attachment in the Work of Klein     109
Clinical Anthropology vs. Developmental Psychology     111
Normality and Pathology in the Work of Bowlby     112
Puberty and Infantile Sexuality: Normality and Pathology in Freud     114
Temporality in the Work of Freud and Bowlby     119
Klein, the Child, and the Psychotic Anxieties of the Baby     120
Discussion     121
Imre Hermann: A Clinical Anthropology of Attachment?     122
Clinging-Searching     123
An Alternative to the Death Instinct?     129
Conclusion: A Clinical Anthropology of Attachment     131
Attachment, Aggression, and Sexuality     133
Death Instinct, Hilflosigkeit, and Haltlosigkeit      135
From Lost Object to Damaged Object     138
The Oedipus Complex: From Lost Object to Forbidden Object     140
References     143
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