1st Edition

Discovering Françoise Dolto
Psychoanalysis, Identity and Child Development

ISBN 9780367144302
Published June 3, 2019 by Routledge
272 Pages

USD $44.95

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Book Description

This psychobiographical study of the renowned French pediatrician and psychoanalyst Françoise Dolto introduces both her theories of child development and her unique insights into language and identity.

A friend of Jacques Lacan’s, Dolto believed that we are all humanized through language, and that the words we use carry unconscious traces of our early histories of love, suffering and desire. Suggesting that infants unconsciously symbolize and that a continuous circulation of unconscious affects—the transference—prevails in all language-based relations, her findings challenge assumptions about autism, autobiography, linguistics, literacy, pedagogy and therapy.

Dolto’s own corpus—a rich archive blending the personal and professional—demonstrates this, with echoes between Dolto’s constructs about the child and her own challenging childhood. This fascinating book will not only introduce the work of Françoise Dolto to many readers, but will be a valuable resource for all psychoanalytic researchers and theorists interested in childhood, language and identity.

Table of Contents



Chapter One: Subject

Chapter Two: Filiation

Chapter Three: Family

Chapter Four: Listening

Chapter Five: Reading

Chapter Six: Speaking

Chapter Seven: Writing

Chapter Eight: Phoneme

Chapter Nine: Passivity

Chapter Ten: Legacy



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Kathleen Saint-Onge is a Canadian researcher interested in the role of language in identity-formation and the question, "What is a word?" Saint-Onge follows Freud as she taps Françoise Dolto’s notion of the phonème to explore the unconscious work of the transference (in texts) in psychical development. Saint-Onge is also the author of Bilingual Being: My Life as a Hyphen (2013).