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Title: Identity: history, the nation and the self: Notes on a conceptual itinerary, 1967-2001
Contributor(s): Dixson, Miriam (author)
Publication Date: 2003
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Abstract: This chapter reflects on a conceptual itinerary which I have pursued since 1967. Focused on Australia as part of the West, that itinerary first drew on Danish-American psychoanalyst Erik Erikson, the so-called architect of identity. It was in the 1960s that Erikson ignited my interest in the relation between national identity, historical change and the work of the ego.In the late 1970s, under the influences of feminism and an increasing recognition of the split nature of the self, I began to engage with ideas of the British Object Relations School and of Melanie Klein in particular. In object-relations theory inner objects are unconscious representations of relationships, primarily concerning parents and other significant early figures. Initially my engagement with object relations was sparked by Klein's relevance to feminist theory as demonstrated in Dorothy Dinnerstein's book 'The Mermaid and the Minotaur'. (More later about Dinnerstein.) But Klein ranged far beyond feminist issues: her underlying problematic was the divided modern to late-modern self in its struggle towards a workable, 'good-enough' integration. In keeping with the British psychoanalytic object-relations tradition, Klein's recurrent themes concern the two most basic characteristics of the self: on the one hand, the deeply split nature of the self, and on the other, its inherent thrust toward imperfect but workable integration.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: History on the Couch: Essays in History and Psychoanalysis, p. 119-129
Publisher: Melbourne University Publishing
Place of Publication: Carlton, Vic.
ISBN: 052285057X
Field of Research (FOR): 210303 Australian History (excl Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
Other Links:,M1
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