Gender Formation and Psychoanalysis

How are the structures of personal life discussed in the last chapter formed? There are two main approaches to this question that are compatible with a social analysis of gender. Socialization theory treats gender formation as. jthe acquisition and internalization of social^ norms_. It stresses continuity between social context and personality, and the homogeneity of personality itself. Psychoanaly­sis treats gender formation as the effect of an encounter with power and necessity rather than normative prescriptions. It emphasizes discontinuity between social context and personality, and points to radical division within personality. I will make only a brief examination of socialization theory as it quickly appears inadequate to the problem; then turn to the two main branches of psychoanaly­sis that offer some grip on the question.