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Misogyny, Projective Identification, and Mentalization: Psychoanalytic, Social, and Institutional Manifestations
Messina, Karyne E.
Routledge / Softcover / 2019-04-01 / 0367192217
Psychoanalysis and Politics / Women's Issues
reg price: $64.95 our price: $ 58.46
200 pages
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Misogyny, Projective Identification, and Mentalization looks at how the psychoanalytic concepts of projective identification and mentalization may explain the construction of society and how they have enabled misogyny to be expressed in social, political and institutional settings. Karyne E. Messina explores how misogyny has affects the perception and treatment of women through analysis of a range of examples of individual women and groups.

The first part explores projective identification as a mechanism for the suppression of women, looking at the origins of the concept in psychoanalysis and its expansion. The author examines the story of Clara Thompson as an example, arguing that her virtual disappearance from the history of psychiatry and psychoanalysis itself is a telling example of this process at work. The second part of the book uses four examples of individuals, including the recent election loss by Hillary Clinton in 2016, to show that projective identification can (particularly in political and cultural settings), overtake and motivate groups as well as individuals and lead to violence, atrocity, humiliation and dismissal of and against women. Part three then features case studies of four groups of women from the twentieth century, including victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, showing how projective identification against groups has occurred.

With specific reference on the erasure of women’s contributions in society, both individually and collectively, and the trauma that arises from the many effects of regarding women as a group as ‘less’ or ‘other’, this is a book which sets a new agenda for understanding how misogyny is expressed socially. Misogyny, Projective Identification, and Mentalization will be of interest to psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists as well as scholars of politics, gender and cultural studies.


"This book presents novel ideas that advance, not only the understanding of projective identification, but also concepts related to the aspects of work that promote improvement in psychotherapy that I have not seen before. I think that the topics of the book will be of universal interest to a variety of readers for many years as the issue of discrimination not only continues to be a struggle but in recent times, the "Me Too" movement gives these questions urgency not seen before. The book contains a very contemporary application of theory on social experience; it is likely to become a tour de force work."-Harry Gill, Assistant Clinical Professor, George Washington University; Medical Director, Suburban Hospital, Johns Hopkins Medicine, USA

"Here Karyne E. Messina explores misogyny through a psychoanalytic lens. Familiar with many theoretical perspectives and using wide-ranging examples, she shows how psychoanalytic theories contribute to an understanding of misogyny’s unconscious roots and its potential for resolution. The reader is guaranteed a thoughtful, thorough and suspenseful journey through this timely topic."-Helen Stein, Consultant, New York State Psychiatric Institute, Center for the Study of Trauma and Resilience, Psychologist; private practice, New York City, USA

"In this important book, psychoanalyst, Karyne E. Messina describes the damaging effects of what she calls the "emotional violence of silence", the deployment of power to erase the contribution of women throughout history. Today in the age of the "Me Too" movement, women are starting to speak out- but the rising tide of voices still has to combat a long history of systemic suppression. Understanding these forces has never been more timely. This book can help us break the cycle and usher in a new and necessary cultural shift."-Maddie Grant, Culture Consultantand Digital Strategist and Founding Partner, WorkXO

"Dr. Messina’s book takes up the worryingly persistent problem of misogyny. Marshaling several rich examples, she shows how the process of projective identification illuminates diverse manifestations of violence against women. Drawing on attachment theory, she explains how self-awareness and perspective taking can allow us to escape the grips of projective identification and potentially ameliorate the continuing prejudicial ways women are treated. This book makes an important contribution to further our understanding of the problem of misogyny."-Shweta Sharma, Assistant Professor in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine, Psychologist; private practice Houston, Texas, USA

Table of Contents

Prologue; Preface; Introduction: Beginnings PART I: ONE MECHANISM THAT EXPLAINS OUR VIOLENT WORLD 1: A Mechanism That Harms: Projective Identification as a Force that Destroys 2: Clara Thompson’s Disappearance: How Projective Identification Contributed to the Near-Extinction of a Star PART II: THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN DAMAGED: PROJECTIVE IDENTIFICATION AS A MAJOR CAUSE OF THE ERASURE 3: Eleanor Marx: A Little-Known Activist 4: A 21st Century Woman: Anne Case 5: Hillary Clinton: The 2016 Presidential Election 6: The Dial Painter and Her Fate: Illness and Death for Many PART III: GROUPS OF WOMEN WHO HAVE BEEN DAMAGED: THE EFFECTS OF PROJECTIVE IDENTIFICATION IN GROUPS 7: The WASP of World War II: Does the Stigma Linger? 8: The Challenge: Healing Groups and Cultures 9: The Atrocity of Physical Abuse: Genocide and Rape in Rwanda and Sex-Trafficked Girls PART IV: MECHANISMS THAT REVERSE THE DAMAGE: MENTALIZATION AND REPARATIVE LEADERSHIP AS ANTIDOTES TO PROJECTIVE IDENTIFICATION 10: Attachment and Mentalization: Key Components that Affect the Development of the Self and the Formation of Group Identify 11: Reparative Leadership as a Way to Help Groups: Reconciliation in Rwanda as an Example of Hope PART V: ATTEMPTING TO TURN THINGS AROUND: FROM PROJECTIVE IDENTIFICATION (A ONE-MIND THEORY) TO MENTALIZATION (A TWO-MIND THEORY) 12: Treatment Out of the Analytic Box: Attachment, Mentalization and a Response to Trauma 13: The Lady—As My Observing Ego—And I: Observing Mentalization After Forming Attachment Relationships; Conclusion

About the Author

Karyne E. Messina, Ed. D., FABP is a psychologist and Supervising Analyst at the Washington Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis and is on the medical staff of Johns Hopkins Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland, USA. She maintains a full-time private practice in Chevy Chase, Maryland. She was previously the Director of the Meyer Treatment Center at the Washington School of Psychiatry and the Director of Continuing Education for Women at George Washington University.

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