Paul Attinello

The Queer Heart of Individuation: Queer / Jung

A queer presence in the Jungian world has existed for most of the history of our profession. Unfortunately, that queer presence is not often visible: despite personal testimonies and anecdotes, publications, and professional discussions, the world of queer Jungians remains relatively unseen. This has become more problematic as expectations of queer visibility, acceptance, and power have increased.

Jungian theory involves multiple structures, some of which focus on essentialist and/or polarized images of gender and sexuality. Queer Jungians have used a variety of strategies to work with, reformulate, or dismiss theories, trying to maintain a human continuity between their work and their immanent lives and desires. We introduce two panels of speakers trained and working across different times and places who wish to intervene out of a range of desires – including a classic desire to be visible, to emphasize our ongoing presence in several fields; a passion to reorient and reconstruct Jungian teaching and institutions so that they more openly include our experiences; and an insistence on a socially and emotionally connected orientation of Jungian discourse such that it does not invalidate the lives of our colleagues and analysands.

I wish to open up a space for these panels by outlining some of the work that has been published by queer Jungians over the past sixty years, in addition to summarizing some of the problems we have faced in our work and its reputations. I will compare current problems in the misappropriation of Jungian theory to the disagreements that surrounded the 1973 depathologization of homosexuality by the APA, and consider some of the projections onto Jungian work by external professional frames and public discourse, to ask: how do we wish to be seen in the current era, such that we can forward the political, personal, social, and ethical needs of our work?


Paul Attinello is a Jungian analyst who has taught at Newcastle University, the University of Hong Kong, and UCLA. He received his PhD from UCLA and analytic diploma from the C. G. Jung Institute in Zürich. He has lived and worked on four continents, been involved in many academic and creative projects and HIV programs, and is co-founder of the Psychosocial Wednesday seminars. He is published in a number of collections, journals, and reference works, including the groundbreaking Queering the Pitch: The New Lesbian & Gay Musicology (1994), on contemporary music, the culture of AIDS, and psychological and philosophical topics.


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