In order to trace an outline, even though incomplete, of the fate and use of the concept of projective identifi cation in Italian and in Spanish psychoanalysis, I have examined its literature and have benefi ted from the help of colleagues from these two countries. I am grateful to them, although the responsibility for anything that is missing or inaccurate, and for the general layout of this presentation, obviously falls on me. 41
Some general premises
Some preliminary statements will be useful to help identify the problem we are dealing with. First, even when we have in mind the study of the evolution of a specifi c concept, it is necessary fi rst to outline the history of the general evolution of the psychoanalytical theory in each country, and to describe the modalities for training in the psychoanalytical institutes and the general cultural orientation in the society. The acceptance of a particular concept by the psychoanalytical community is the result of many factors: some of them are exquisitely individual, for example training undergone in another
country; others are more general, for example the theoretical orientation and the traditions of the society. This outline exceeds our present capacity and, in the case of the history of psychoanalysis in Italy, we can rely on some excellent treatises.