Sexual Difference in Debate: Bodies, Desires, and Fictions





Now well into the twenty-first century, relevant changes in symbolic codes that organize social bonds are observed. Important modifications regarding the model of the nuclear family in Western society, the vicissitudes of desire and changing identities, as well as advances in biotechnology and informatics, are leading to a re-consideration of previously accepted concepts of the masculine-feminine polarity and the notion of sexual difference.

In this context, new forms of subjectivity - including sexual and gender migrations - open an inquiry regarding the way these presentations challenge traditional psychoanalytic theories. Thus, an opportunity emerges to investigate the whole spectrum of subjectivities that have no place in orthodox masculine-feminine duality, and to think about these matters beyond reductionist moralities yet avoiding acritical positions.

The greater part of this book focuses on a critical analysis of the logics and ways of thinking supporting both explicit and implicit theories of sexual difference and the masculine/feminine pair. These theories may be private or collective; conscious, preconscious, or unconscious. They impact heavily on interpretations and constructions made in analytic practice, while they also affect transference-countertransference patterns.

This conceptual analysis reviews the Freudian oeuvre as well as the work of other significant authors, post-Freudian and contemporary, that have contributed specifically to this topic. The concept of sexual difference contains a persistent problem: binary, dichotomous thinking and its blind spots and aporias. For this reason, the author has turned to other epistemologies that offer novel forms to think about the same problems, such as the paradigm of hyper-complexity, as well as thinking at intersections and limits between different categories. The objective is to rethink the construction of sexed subjectivity and its conflict with consensual ideals and legalities, by means of focusing on problems triggered by the notion of sexual difference, but also considering alternative epistemological approaches to it.
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