Gender as Soft Assembly
Gender as Soft Assembly weaves together insights from different disciplinary domains to open up new vistas of clinical understanding of what it means to inhabit, to perform, and to be, gendered. Opposing the traditional notion of development as the linear unfolding of predictable stages, Adrienne Harris argues that children become gendered in multiply configured contexts. And she proffers new developmental models to capture the fluid, constructed, and creative experiences of becoming and being gendered. According to Harris, these models, and the images to which they give rise, articulate not only with contemporary relational psychoanalysis but also with recent research into the origins of mentalization and symbolization.
In urging us to think of gender as co-constructed in a variety of relational contexts, Harris enlarges her psychoanalytic sensibility with the insights of attachment theory, linguistics, queer theory, and feminist criticism. Nor is she inattentive to the impact of history and culture on gender meanings. Special consideration is given to chaos theory, which Harris positions at the cutting edge of developmental psychology and uses to generate new perspectives and new images for comprehending and working clinically with gender.
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