Introduction: Society, Family, Subjects

  • Floriana Irtelli


This chapter describes theoretical evolutions about the family: an entity that has become more and more complex, “multifaceted and paradoxically homogeneous”, nuanced, “liquid” and “affective”; in this excursus, psychoanalysis confronts itself with the new scenarios that embrace subject, family, society and their mutual relationships. A number of psychoanalytic theories are summarized: psychoanalysis would appear to be a theory of the individual, but in Freud’s theories there are also latent “family-group dimensions”; even if psychoanalysis was born as a method of treatment of individuals, and Freud elaborated most of the theories in terms of “intrapsychic structures”, psychoanalysis discovered and signaled that the human subject is not conceivable without the existence of others. A historical overview is introduced, exploring various salient theories. The chapter also describes contemporary social changes of the hyper-modern era, and how to embed the family in this frame. It highlights how the concept of proximity has changed, and explores current theorizations about this phenomenon. The end of the chapter delineates some of the paradoxes and contradictions of contemporary society (such as the approach to food and nutrition—a symbol of contradictory social messages).


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Floriana Irtelli
    • 1
  1. 1.Catholic University of the Sacred HeartMilanItaly

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