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Psychoanalysis, Reparation, and Historical Memory

Figlio, Karl (2014) 'Psychoanalysis, Reparation, and Historical Memory.' American Imago, 71 (4). pp. 417-443. ISSN 1085-7931

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This paper presents a psychoanalytic view of the tensions in assimilating a largely disowned past into a convergent contemporary social memory. It is based on the idea that remembering is making good a relationship to the past, akin to the Kleinian concept of reparation to a good internal object. By contrast, falsely remembering, or remembering by controlling unwanted memories, is a form of manic reparation that denigrates a good internal object. Reparation is based on concern for damage to the other, while manic reparation is based on narcissistic aggrandizement and contempt for the other. Symbols of reparation, such as memorials, gather conflicting groups around them as enclaves of conflicting memories. As sites of ambivalence, they represent both reparative and manicreparative intentions, as well as intellectual, emotional, and political conflict. Focusing on memorials, the essay addresses the problem of remembering and repairing through an analysis of ambivalence in German memory of the Nazi period after the Second World War. It aligns reparation with introjective identification and manic reparation with projective identification, clarifying and illustrating these concepts as part of the understanding of ambivalent remembering.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0500 Psychoanalysis
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2015 10:08
Last Modified: 23 Apr 2015 10:08

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