An anthology that collects the best of almost forty years of production and thought of the cross between psychoanalysis and feminism. If it is possible to summarize a lifetime of reflections on patriarchal logics naturalized in the exercise and theorization of the discipline, the book Psychoanalysis, from the foundational lapses to the feminisms of the 21st century (Editorial Paidós) succeeds. The work is divided into seven chronological parts. Each one is introduced with a careful contextualization of the historical-political moment that gave rise to the texts. Also included are some articles that had remained unpublished. The author? Ana María Fernández, doctor in Psychology, psychoanalyst, researcher, professor at the University of Buenos Aires and member of the Advisory Council of the Ministry of Women, Gender and Diversity. In addition, she founded the first chair of Gender Studies in Latin America (UBA, 1987) and wrote numerous books on this subject. However, such a trajectory was news this week not in the best way: the president of the PRO, Patricia Bullrich, tried to trample it – without success, obviously – with a series of grievances based on a decontextualized cut of a Fernández class which was actually from 2019.
But the important thing is to be able to read Fernández. In his new publication, he also reveals how the tensions between psychoanalysis and feminisms have varied over the last four decades. “At the end of the 70s, when we started to take on these issues it was the full dictatorship, so we weren’t very connected with the circuits. But when democracy came, as for me, I began to go very happy to all the psychoanalytic congresses that multiplied to bring the things that we had been thinking in relation to the revision that psychoanalysis needed of some of its conceptualizations, the epistemological, political question ”, tells Fernández to Page 12. “And the first reaction they had was one of terrible anger, even aggression. Or they would send me to study again because they said that I had not understood Freud. That part was nice. Beyond that, the first local reaction was one of astonishment, anger and also showed the absolute ignorance of a whole movement that had been taking place in the great academic centers of the Western world ”. That was, according to Fernández, the first moment. Later, there was a second moment in which the whole questioning approach from feminist categories was rejected outright, saying: “That is sociological, it does not correspond to psychoanalysis.” Fernández then raised the following question: “If gender mandates are what prevents the subject from becoming a subject of desire, how can this problem be outside psychoanalysis? ”“ We could say that the accumulation of the production of social movements was advancing, etc. And today I believe that the green tide of young women colleagues install a very strong claim that is: ‘We want a psychoanalysis at the height of the time’, taking the famous phrase of Lacan ”, underlines the specialist.
Q: How much did the strength of the women’s movement, for example, in the struggle for the vindication of rights, for the legalization of abortion and against gender violence, influence in thinking of a psychoanalysis more appropriate to the new paradigm?
– It was not only the young feminists and the abortion struggles but the previous struggles of sexual dissidents and that the laws of equal marriage and gender identity were later achieved, for example. They are all struggles that were cornering, so to speak, that patriarchal, binary, hierarchical logic from which difference is thought, where the other is always alien, unequal, and so on. But we can already say that today intellectuals, psychoanalysts, etc. are joining in, and we can already speak of a current of a postpatriarchal, postheteronormative psychoanalysis that I am very proud to integrate.
Q: To what extent have the patriarchal logic of psychoanalysis been reduced in the clinic?
–It is a deconstructive work, where listening changes, of course, because if not, there is an idea of a neutrality achieved. And neutrality, as Lacan said, always wavers. So, it is lodged with many prejudices that a psychoanalyst does not register if they do not work on their own involvement. In the book I address issues that have been omitted by psychoanalysis and that cannot be understood if it is not from that patriarchal logic by which it is thought. For example, a question is: if the ninety-odd percent of sexually abused boys and girls are the product of an incestuous attack by the father / stepfather / grandfather / uncle / elder brother, why does psychoanalysis only speak of maternal havoc and not Have you been able to conceptualize parental havoc? When you open up the logic of its omissions and its silences, new fields open up for you to reconceptualize.
–And as for the heteronormative?
– The same, because this is not just a question of psychoanalysis, in particular. I say that psychoanalysis is spoken by the episteme of the time, by the episteme of difference, where difference is binary, hierarchical, as I said. And then, the other or the other is always threatening, inferior, dangerous, sick foreigners. There has been a very strong current of the Pride movements themselves, of sexual dissidents, of queer studies that are cornering that idea that unquestioned psychoanalysis reproduces all the time, where it has been said for many years that a homosexual is perverse, that someone who has intentions of a surgical adaptation, of gender adaptation is a psychotic or a psychotic because the certainty accounts for that. In short, they are bad words but bad words make the person who is the object of that clinical bad saying a curse.
Q: Why were the most institutionalized psychoanalyses resistant to the contributions made by gender studies?
-In the book I take that question. I would say that there are three issues that come together to put together this complex issue. On the one hand, the foundational paradox: when Freud casts doubt on the story that the patients had been abused, there he invented a magnificent concept which is the concept of psychic reality: these are the patient’s Oedipal fantasies. This idea of psychic reality founds psychoanalysis because it indicates what the object of his work is: the unconscious. Therefore, this passage from the veracity of the story to the world of unconscious fantasy is very important. But at the same time it prevents him from distinguishing which ones had actually been abused by those so-called paternal figures, thereby ignoring the abuses that actually occurred and leaving a foundational paradox there. Two things are founded at the same time: ignoring the abuses that actually occurred and inventing psychoanalysis. That leaves forever a hesitation in listening to a story of abuse: Is it true? Has he fantasized about it? That remains installed today in psychoanalysts, in judges, in public opinion: What did the girl do? Did you provoke it? And a third element: there an epistemological obstacle was created because any theory has things that it could not think of. If not, we would have a complete theory, in the most psychoanalytic sense of the word completeness. The epistemological obstacle was not being able to think the unthinkable because theory had become dogmatized and practice had become rigid.