Dialectical Persuasion

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1998, Vol 43(11), 787-788. Review of book: “Like subjects, love objects: Essays on recognition and sexual difference,” by Jessica Benjamin (see record 1995-99076-000). In this book Benjamin strikes an ambitious course. Writing from the position of both psychoanalyst and feminist, she sets out to construct a dialogue between the two disciplines that augments and reconsiders some of the ideas she first expressed in The Bonds of Love (1988). Benjamin does succeed in setting up a tension between feminist and psychoanalytic viewpoints in which the differences are highlighted, rather than resolved. In so doing she orients the reader to an appreciation of the intersubjective psychoanalytic perspective, in which such ambiguities and paradoxes are maintained and explored. The chapters are on divergent topics and there are no easy transitions between them. Ideas introduced in one chapter are developed further in other chapters, with few references to the previous iterations. Therefore the reader is left with the feeling of being alone in this. Without a reasonable background in at least psychoanalytic thought or feminist principles, a reader would have a difficult time negotiating the theoretical twists and turns. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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