Like Subjects, Love Objects: Essays on Recognition and Sexual Difference

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In this important book, the author of The Bonds of Love discusses gender issues from the perspective of developmental psychoanalysis. Jessica Benjamin, a well-known psychoanalyst and feminist, makes a case for what she calls gender heterodoxy -a highly original view of the similarities and differences between the sexes-and in the process she illuminates aspects of love, sexuality, aggression, and pornography. Benjamin elaborates and develops the psychoanalytic theory of intersubjectivity, taking up the question: What difference does it make when I consider the Other to be not merely an object of my mind but a subject in his or her own right, with a center of being equivalent to my own? This question of recognition is closely related to how we frame, tolerate, and theorize difference and is therefore tied to the issue of gender. Benjamin argues that intersubjective theory does not replace but rather adds to the existing intrapsychic theory of psychoanalysis, which focuses on the individual. Her both/and (as opposed to either/or) approach is carried throughout the book, for Benjamin brilliantly integrates relational and Freudian positions, feminist and psychoanalytic theory, and clinical and theoretical information.