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Transformations regarding the conceptualization of the maternal role in the psycoanalytical teorisation of Autism

Grant number: 21/14563-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2022
Effective date (End): December 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology
Principal Investigator:Jorge Luís Ferreira Abrão
Grantee:Laura Regina Cezarini Mayo
Host Institution: Faculdade de Ciências e Letras (FCL-ASSIS). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Assis. Assis , SP, Brazil


The development of the concept of autism in psychoanalysis has historically faced theoretical difficulties, contradictions, and issues, especially when it comes to the role of the mother in the development of the disorder. There were works made by some authors that were judgemental about the mothers of autistic kids, widely popularizing terms such as "refrigerator mothers", example. Therefore, this resulted in a certain avoidance by these mothers of pursuing psychoanalytical treatments for their children. As new psychoanalysts started dwelling on the theme of autism, new studies have emerged. The present project aims to understand the transformation of the psychoanalysis conception regarding the mother's role in the development of autism, under the hypothesis that this movement took place towards absolving the mother of the blame for the condition, which will be done through the theoretical-historical research of the theme in the works of Bruno Bettelheim and Donald Winnicott, that were chosen for being representatives of two different historical moments in the theorization of autism in psychoanalysis.(AU)

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