Queer theory and the "female homosexual" of psychoanalysis

Conference paper

Worthington, A. 2011. Queer theory and the "female homosexual" of psychoanalysis. 1st Global Conference: Queer Sexualities. Warsaw, Poland 13 - 15 May 2011 inter-disciplinary.net.
TypeConference paper
TitleQueer theory and the "female homosexual" of psychoanalysis
AuthorsWorthington, A.

An engagement between psychoanalysis and queer theory would seem to offer a certain promise. Through a consideration of the work of queer theorists, psychoanalysts may come to think differently about their clinical practice, sex, sexuality, love, the body, ethics and identity. And the project of queer theory may be advanced by a reading of a psychoanalysis, which gives emphasis to the inherent instability of sexed subjectivity and proposes a theory of sexual difference not based on anatomical difference. Albeit from different standpoints, both disciplines foreground subjectivity, desire and sexuality. Therefore, it would seem fruitful to investigate the intersection of both fields, exploring might be produced from their engagement.
My paper will elaborate the shared conceptual ground between queer theory and psychoanalysis on the topic of same sex desire between women. My title introduces three conceptually slippery, equivocal, unstable concepts. Attempts at definition of the terms “queer theory”, “female homosexual” and “psychoanalysis” uncover a myriad of associations to particular political and theoretical antecedents and allegiances. I adopt the term “female homosexual” to reflect a conformity that can be seen in the published clinical work of psycho-practitioners who have engaged with queer theory’s challenge to psychoanalysis with both Freud and those psychoanalysts who proposed revisions to his theories in the 1920s and 30s.
Through an analysis of contemporary (post-queer) published clinical case histories, I will examine the impact of the engagement between the queer theory and psychoanalysis on the clinic of female homosexuality, and suggest they may signal the eventual disappointment of that certain promise.

Research GroupCentre for Psychoanalysis
Conference1st Global Conference: Queer Sexualities
Publication process dates
Deposited21 Mar 2013
Output statusPublished
Web address (URL)http://www.inter-disciplinary.net/critical-issues/gender-and-sexuality/queer-sexualities/project-archives/1st/
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