The paper argues that, contrary to common assumption, siblings have been well noted in clinical material. The reason why we pay them no attention and only ‘re-discover’ them from time to time is that they have no autonomous place in psychoanalytical theory. It suggests that what the author labels the ‘sibling trauma’ could constitute a foundational moment for their placement in the metapsychology which need to be developed along a horizontal axis. After examining this, it proposes that the rite of passage that follows a generic trauma of this kind leads directly into social life, a social life that is gendered, but differently from the ‘sexual difference’ initiated by the castration complex.
Juliet Mitchell, in "SETTING" 32/2011, pp. 5-27, DOI:10.3280/SET2011-032001