Because Elise Snyder, founder of the China American Psychoanalytic Alliance, had been in Tampa last week discussing cross-cultural psychoanalysis (the pearl there being that every encounter is, to some extent, cross cultural) the paper Communicating across Boundaries, Building Crosscultural Bridges by Patrizio Campanile caught my eye. This led back to its main paper I Had Twenty-Five Piercings And Pink Hair When . . .”: Adolescence, Transitional Hysteria, And The Process Of Subjectivization. Neither paper was what I expected but both led to a very interesting discussion in the Friday afternoon TBIPS Study Group.
Campanile got us to thinking about subjects in the psychoanalytic sense (as the center of experience with one’s own agency, will and desire) and subjects in the historical sense, under the will of the monarch. Subjectivization is the process of becoming a subject in the psychological sense, but to do so includes subjugating, if you will, multiple aspects of one’s self, a multiplicity of self states, under the rubric of a one self. Campanile notes this includes for the adolescent integrating, getting control over, subjugating one’s changing body, as well as, for the rest of us, other aspects of the self, such as our dreams when sleeping, over which we have little control. Symbolization, such as language, or giving words to experience, gives us the sense that we can organize things over which we have little, if any, control.
I was reminded of people I have treated who have Tourette’s Syndrome and who tic and utter without the will to do so. They have told me that it is like there is an alien other who resides inside over which they have no control. It takes a huge amount of energy to postpone these involuntary movements and utterances until they are at home in private and then Tourette’s explodes, leaving them even more exhausted. Because Campanile’s papers use the traditional language of drive theory, the group mused about sexual urges being sometimes experienced as involuntary and alien. If psychoanalysis aims to allow richer, fuller human experience, then disavowal of ourselves as sexual beings is a denial in search of a cure.
Campanile, P. (2012). Communicating across Boundaries, Building Crosscultural Bridges. Psychoanal Q., 81:437-442.
Campanile, P (2012) “I Had Twenty-Five Piercings And Pink Hair When . . .”: Adolescence, Transitional Hysteria, And The Process Of Subjectivization. Psychoanal Q, 81: 401-418.