Per Os(cillation)

  • Parveen Adams
Part of the Communications and Culture book series (COMMCU)


‘It is in the register of the symbolic that femininity comes to acquire its meaning as only its difference from masculinity; and it is not something with a content.’ This is Juliet Mitchell in 1982 in an interview with the editors of m/f. 1 It is a position that I, as one of those editors, shared at the time. More recently, reflecting on the implications of Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen’s questioning of the relation between object choice and identification in Freud’s texts, 2 I began to see that a number of feminine characteristics, passivity in particular, did emerge from Freud’s account of the Oedipus complex.


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  1. 1.
    Juliet Mitchell and Jacqueline Rose, ‘Feminine Sexuality: Interview — 1982’, ml no. 8 (1983), pp. 14–15. (Available from 24 Ellerdale Road, London NW3 6BB, UK.)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen, Le Sujet Freudien (Flammarion, Paris, 1981); translated as The Freudian Subject ( Macmillan, London, 1989 ).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Sigmund Freud, ‘Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria’ (‘Dora’) (1905 [1901]), SE VII, p.48; PFL 8, p.81.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    S. Freud, Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905), SE VII, p. 159; PFL 7, p. 73; ‘Instincts and their Vicissitudes’ (1915), SE XIV, pp. 127,129— 30; PFL 11.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    S. Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams (1900), SE IV—V, p. 147; PFL 4, p. 229.Google Scholar
  6. 9.
    Neil Hertz, ‘Dora’s Secrets, Freud’s Techniques’, in Charles Bernheimer and Claire Kahane (eds), In Dora’s Case: Freud, Hysteria, Feminism ( Columbia University Press, New York, 1985 ), p. 228.Google Scholar
  7. 10.
    S. Freud, ‘On the History of the Psycho-Analytic Movement’ (1914), SE XIV; PFL 15.Google Scholar
  8. 12.
    S. Freud, ‘A Child is Being Beaten’ (1919), SE XVII; PFL 10.Google Scholar
  9. 14.
    Parveen Adams, ‘Of Female Bondage’, in Teresa Brennan (ed.), Between Feminism and Psychoanalysis ( Routledge, London, 1989 ).Google Scholar
  10. 15.
    S. Freud, The Ego and the Id (1923), SE XIX; PFL 11.Google Scholar
  11. 16.
    S. Freud, Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego (1921), SE XVIII, p. 106; PFL 12, pp. 135–6.Google Scholar

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© Parveen Adams 1991

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  • Parveen Adams

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