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    Towards a structural theory of matricide: psychoanalysis, the Oresteia and the maternal prohibition

    Jacobs, Amber (2004) Towards a structural theory of matricide: psychoanalysis, the Oresteia and the maternal prohibition. Women: A Cultural Review 15 (1), pp. 19-34. ISSN 0957-4042.

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    Jacobs focuses on the untheorized status of matricide in psychoanalysis. She argues that, if matricide could be conceptualized in terms of a structuring function, then we could work towards the expansion of the symbolic economy to include a different mode of symbolization from that of the classical Oedipal/castration model. The key question with which she is concerned is whether or not the mother can be theorized within the terms of the underlying cultural laws that determine socio-symbolic organization. She argues for a return to myth as part of a strategy that seeks to undermine the monopoly of the Oedipus myth in the psychoanalytic theory that psychoanalytic feminism relies on. If we reread Freud’s engagement with Oedipus in relation to the matricidal myth of the Oresteia then we can begin to raise the possibility of theorizing more than one structural law. She goes on to demonstrate that, concealed within the Oresteian myth, we can find distorted versions of another matricidal myth, the myth of Zeus’ incorporation of Metis. By interpreting the myth of Metis as the latent content of the Oresteian myth Jacobs postulates a definition of matricide as incorporation rather than introjection, and argues that this conceptual definition can lead to the development of a hypothesis of a matricidal law. She suggests that the discovery of the unconscious structure belonging to matricide arrived at through this rereading of the Oresteia has important implications not only for the expansion of psychoanalytic theory and clinical practice but for feminist cultural intervention and symbolic change.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): feminist psychoanalysis, introjection, matricide, Metis, Oresteia , prohibition, symbolic function
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2017 14:05
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:35


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