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Stephen Frosh

In: The SAGE Handbook of Identities

Chapter 2: Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Identity: From Ego to Ethics

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Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Identity: From Ego to Ethics
Psychoanalytic perspectives on identity: From ego to ethics

It is not difficult to argue that psychoanalysis is and should be a major disciplinary site through which alternative notions of identities can be explored. The psychoanalytic concept of a dynamic unconscious provides leverage on a number of central issues in the study of identities, including the tension between an understanding of identity as something fixed (repressed ideas producing stable ways of being that are resistant to change) and of identities as fluid and multiple (unconscious ideas are variable, contradictory and partial). Historically, psychoanalysis has concerned itself with issues that bear on whether identities are best thought of as primarily characterological or relational; in addition, by drawing on well-established notions ...

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