chapter  3
40 Pages

Transformations in thirdness

Mutual recognition, vulnerability and asymmetry

This Chapter is divided into separate parts, the first emphasizing developmental theory in light of the Third and the second the clinical theory that is associated with it. My original reflections for this Chapter, “You’ve Come a Long Way Baby,” given at IARPP in 2011, considered how the study of infancy, in particular the mother-infant relationship, led to an intersubjective psychoanalysis in which mutuality or mutual recognition plays a central role. So it was necessary to return to another point of origin in my theorizing: intersubjectivity as seen from the vantage point of recognizing women’s, specifically mother’s, subjectivity. This was a perspective that could evolve only through the co-incidence of feminism with intersubjective theory. Originally, I asked: If it is important for a mother to recognize her infant’s subjectivity—that is, as another I rather than simply an It—how does anyone develop this capacity?