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The Biopolitics of Gender$
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Jemima Repo

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190256913

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190256913.001.0001

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The Sex/Gender Split, Transsexualism, and the Psychoanalytic Engineering of Capitalist Life

The Sex/Gender Split, Transsexualism, and the Psychoanalytic Engineering of Capitalist Life

Chapter:
(p.49) Chapter 2 The Sex/Gender Split, Transsexualism, and the Psychoanalytic Engineering of Capitalist Life
Source:
The Biopolitics of Gender
Author(s):

Jemima Repo

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190256913.003.0003

This chapter analyzes the clinical theories and practices of US psychoanalyst Robert J. Stoller, who developed the sex/gender split and the idea of gender identity in the 1960s in his work on transsexuality and transvestism. Stoller’s work entrenched sex and gender into the biology/culture binary, where biology and culture represented two separate, but causally linked, orders of knowledge. The chapter shows how the sex/gender binary operated to control biology (sex) through culture (gender). The analysis is placed in the postwar psychoanalytic revolution that functioned to standardize and normalize individuals into a bourgeois social model founded on the wholesome nuclear family. Psychoanalysis, the chapter argues, enabled the de-politicization of the stricter postwar sexual division of labor and capitalist production, while the sex/gender split became a psychoanalytic apparatus to ensure that women as housewives socialized male children into masculine, middle-class workers.

Keywords:   transsexualism, transvestism, Robert J. Stoller, nuclear family, psychoanalysis, psychoanalytic apparatus, gender identity

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