Beyond Doer and Done to: Recognition Theory, Intersubjectivity and the Third (Paperback) book cover

Beyond Doer and Done to

Recognition Theory, Intersubjectivity and the Third

By Jessica Benjamin

© 2017 – Routledge

278 pages

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About the Book

In Beyond Doer and Done To, Jessica Benjamin, author of the path-breaking Bonds of Love, expands her theory of mutual recognition and its breakdown into the complementarity of "doer and done to." Her innovative theory charts the growth of the Third in early development through the movement between recognition and breakdown, and shows how it parallels the enactments in the psychoanalytic relationship. Benjamin’s recognition theory illuminates the radical potential of acknowledgment in healing both individual and social trauma, in creating relational repair in the transformational space of thirdness. Benjamin’s unique formulations of intersubjectivity make essential reading for both psychoanalytic therapists and theorists in the humanities and social sciences.

Reviews

"In this extraordinary book Jessica Benjamin reveals the paradoxical process of thirdness as the growth of intersubjectivity through mutual survival of enacted breakdowns. The choreography of ‘doer and done to’ makes way for a different kind of shared experience, creating and recreating the Third. This book must be read to grasp its singular importance, because it evokes the experience it clarifies: in trying to be good we fail; in accepting failure we go beyond it. Benjamin synthesizes our biggest insights about intersubjectivity and recognition with our most personal intimate experiences of being connected to another human being, moving psychoanalytic theory into what it has always hoped to be. Read this book, it is not to be missed!"—Philip M. Bromberg, author of The Shadow of the Tsunami: and the Growth of the Relational Mind

"In her brilliant new book, Jessica Benjamin updates her early groundbreaking analysis of intersubjectivity, recognition, and mother-child development. As a result, Beyond Doer and Done To is one of the most powerful and robust accounts of the recognition process ever written. Discussing both individual and public trauma, Benjamin articulates a compelling distinction between the failed witness and the acknowledging witness, crucial to understanding our troubled times. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in recognition theory, trauma theory, and recent trends in psychoanalysis."-Kelly Oliver, author of Witnessing: Beyond Recognition, and most recently, Carceral Humanitarianism: Logics of Refugee Detention

"Jessica Benjamin, one of the most original contemporary psychoanalytic thinkers brilliantly illustrates what is most alive in psychoanalysis today: what it means to think and work using the concept of intersubjectivity. I strongly recommend Beyond Doer and Done To not only to every psychoanalyst and psychotherapist but to all who are intrigued by the question of how a mind is born, and how it grows when it gets in touch with another mind."—Giuseppe Civitarese, author of Truth and the Unconscious in Psychoanalysis

"Jessica Benjamin has pushed the boundaries of psychoanalysis beyond the intrapsychic realm into a much richer understanding of the analytic intersubjective interaction and its embeddedness in the broader social world. Benjamin’s unique articulation of the moral Third offers a compelling vision of how we might heal from the complicated legacies of the past, both individual and historical trauma, and meet the challenges of the 21st century."—Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Research Chair in Historical Trauma and Transformation, Stellenbosch University, and author of A Human Being Died That Night

"Among the most influential and most widely read of psychoanalytic writers, Benjamin in her latest work perfects her brilliant, trail-blazing articulation of intersubjective recognition theory. In Beyond Doer and Done To she elucidates the relations of complementarity, acknowledgment, rhythmicity, the Third, mutual vulnerability, doer-done to relations, trauma, dissociation and witnessing. She has provided a theory of recognition and its vicissitudes, recognition between mothers and infants, therapeutic healing recognition, and recognition relations among couples, families, and even the warring peoples of the world. This magnificent interdisciplinary synthesis breaks through intellectual barriers and will inspire generations of psychotherapists, psychologists, philosophers, feminists, social theorists, and activists."—Lewis Aron, Ph.D., Director, New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy & Psychoanalysis

Table of Contents

Introduction: recognition, intersubjectivity and the Third

1. Beyond doer and done to: an intersubjective view of thirdness

2. Our appointment in Thebes: acknowledgment, the failed witness and fear of harming

3. Transformations in thirdness: mutual recognition, vulnerability and asymmetry

I. You’ve come a long way baby

II. Responsibility, vulnerability and the analyst’s surrender to change

4. An Other take on the riddle of sex: excess, affect and gender complementarity

5. Paradox and play: the uses of enactment

I. The paradox is the thing

II. Enactment, play and the work

III. Putting music and lyrics together

6. Playing at the edge: negation, recognition and the lawful world

I. Beginning with No…and Yes

II. Trauma, violence and recognition of the Other (Me)

7. Beyond "Only one can live": witnessing, acknowledgment and the moral Third

Bibliography

Index

About the Author

Jessica Benjamin, Ph.D., is a psychoanalyst and supervising faculty member at New York University Postdoctoral Psychology Program and the Stephen Mitchell Relational Studies Center in New York. She is author of the Routledge title Shadow of the Other.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSY026000
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Psychoanalysis